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November 18, 2019
 

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Letter: We need to work together to keep this program at Ada HS

To the general public,
It has come to my attention that Ada High School is terminating one of its
programs. A program that has brought home no less than 150 trophies since it
has been at Ada. A program that is home to upwards of 30 students per year. A
program that takes the backseat to all other programs at Ada High School. A
program that doesn’t get recognized enough. A program that I am an alumnus
and teacher of. This program is the Ada High School Winter Guard.

I first joined winter guard when I was in eighth grade,participating every
year until I graduated. I served as co-captain of the guard during my junior
and senior year. I am a five-time Ohio state champion, a three-time regional
semi-finalist, a two-time regional finalist, and a one-time international
semi-finalist. My senior year, the guard placed 42nd out of 130+ guards in
our class at the international level, the farthest any guard at Ada High
School had placed in history. Since I’ve graduated, I came back to the
school to write and teach their 2019 program. This was the most successful
year for the Ada High School winter guard. The guard won state championships,
and at the international competition broke the school records for the highest
score. They finished prelims in 18th and semi-finals in 28th. You could say
I’m heavily involved with this program, even after I left Ada I continued
to pursue guard. I’ve competed on the professional and collegiate level. I
have also gone on to teach other guard programs.

To say guard has impacted me in a positive way would be an
understatement. From being involved in guard at Ada I have learned leadership,
time-management, empathy, team-work, self-confidence, patience, and openness.
It has taught me much more about myself than anything else has. From teaching
at Ada, I have learned leadership, communication skills, creativity, and an
understanding of others. Teaching these kids has made me so humble and
grateful. To hear how this is tearing them apart is breaking my heart. I
can’t stand idly by and watch a program that I was involved in, that I
helped build, disappear.

When I attended Ada High School, I had just moved back to Kenton,
Ohio from Canada. In Canada, I went to a performing arts school, and at the time Kenton High School was threatening to cut all of the arts programs. Due to this, my
parents suggested I go to Ada instead. I chose to go to Ada High School
because of the arts programs it offered. It had programs unlike anything in
the surrounding areas, programs I wanted to be a part of. I didn’t fit in
with sports, and I wasn’t highest in my class. But guard, that’s was my
niche. This is no different for these students wanting to do guard today. You
cannot merely tell these students to join another program, because it isn’t
where they belong.

Like many other extra-curriculars, the winter guard program has given
these kids an outlet. This is how they deal with stress, this is how they express
themselves, this is how they make friends. For most of the kids, this is all
they have. They don’t play any sports, they aren’t involved in anything
else because they breathe, sleep, and bleed guard. They don’t want to do
anything else, this is their life. And that is being taken away from them for
seemingly no reason. The program is beyond successful, has plenty of
interest, and has people ready to teach them. I think it would be ignorant to
think that getting rid of this program would improve the quality and
atmosphere of Ada High School.

Not only do I not understand why the program isn’t coming back, I
don’t understand how the kids were told to their faces, “it’s not a valuable
program.” To many, this proves how little Ada High School knows about the
program and the people in it. How is this program not valuable when last year
these kids broke Ada High School records and had their most successful
season? How can anyone tell them that? I have seen how these kids have grown
since they entered junior high and are now seniors. How can you tell me
that’s not valuable, watching a person find their true self and find who
their friends are? How does that make sense?

I am reaching out to you, the public, to stand up for the students
involved in the Ada High School Winter Guard. Ada High School is making a mistake. Getting rid of the winter guard program would not be beneficial for the kids at Ada High School. Who cares if they aren’t as successful due to the loss
of such a good director? It’s what these kids call home. It’s what they
devote their winters to. It’s about the friendships they make, and the
skills they develop from being in a program like this. I know these kids are
fighting to be heard. Listen to them. How is this hurting the school? The
school doesn’t provide finances, they don’t provide transportation, and
they don’t provide gym space or equipment for them. The school barely gives
them recognition. They shouldn’t even have to be successful for them to be
recognized. What does this say about Ada High School? What message is this
sending the kids about their high school and the people running it? Is this
right? I encourage everyone to research this art. Try to understand these
students. This impacts more people than you think.

The students and I, among others, need your help. We need to work
together to keep this program at Ada High School. Please do what you can to ensure these kids have their home. Contact information for the school’s
administration can be found online at www.adabulldogs.org. Send them a letter
as to why you think the winter program needs to stay. If not for me, for the
kids at Ada High School.

Sincerely,
Hailey Maier

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