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November 18, 2019
 

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Letter: We support the performing arts

Icon viewers: 

We write this letter to urge your support in regards to the Ada High School Winter Guard.  

On Monday, 11-4-19, our school administration made the decision to cut our school’s highly successful Winter Guard program. They did so without consulting anyone prior to making their decision. Mr. Atkinson, the current high school band director, had no knowledge of this decision. Amanda Robirds, the President of the Music Boosters, had no knowledge of the decision. Jordyn Walkup, the color guard director and expected Winter Guard director, had no knowledge or choice in this decision. The school board told us, the guard, before informing anyone else. 

One factor that cannot be ignored is the school’s inability to give a valid reason concerning the termination of this program. We were simply told that it is “not a viable program and it will no longer be continued” and that “things change, and we must treat this as a lesson.”  

The Ada High School Winter Guard is a 23-time State Champion, having won more championships than any other program in the history of our competitive circuit. We are also a National Champion and International Semi-Finalist. More important than these successes, is the impact this program has had on us. Like many other extra-curricular activities, this program has taught us what it means to work hard, commit to one another, but most importantly, it taught us what it means to be a part of something greater than ourselves. 

Ada High School claims to push their students towards “aspiring to excel in all areas of the school experience,” ALL AREAS. However; they have made it quite evident that they are willing to aspire in only some areas of the school experience. The student body and faculty tend to support sports, which is nothing we can control.The school board, however, has failed to show their support for the arts (relative to other extra curricular activities.) The lack of recognition that the Winter Guard, Marching Band, Show Choir, from both their peers and the school board is disheartening. 

Lack of support is something we have dealt with for many years; however, the removal of an entire program, one that many participate in exclusively, is beyond a simple “lack of support.” Ada Schools regularly touts their commitment to all students and support for all programs, yet many of us are being left out in the cold. 

The training required for this program has taught us valuable life skills, including time management, cooperation, and sportsmanship. After some time, it taught us what it means to be a part of something bigger than ourselves. It taught us how to work as a collective.  Colleges offer scholarships to those that know these lessons well. Therefore, we are not simply being robbed of our outlet, but an opportunity to gain scholarships. 

Winter Guard is an activity that many of its participants need. To us, Winter Guard is not just an activity, but an outlet, a way to express ourselves, our means to pursue excellence, and our means of bonding with our fellow peers.  Each and every one of us has issues we must face, but being surrounded by a positive community can ease the struggles we each face individually. It has always been more than just an activity to us, for our team has slowly weaved itself into a family.  This program, as well as the former and current directors involved, have not only enhanced our skills as performers, but facilitated our growth and maturity as individuals.

So ask yourself this, why did you become a teacher?  To educate students about X, Y, and Z? Or to help facilitate our growth and aiding us in reaching our potential? Teachers have one of the most important jobs, but these types of jobs are rewarding at times. You offer support and guidance that have shaped us into prospering young adults.  One thing your classes and our extra curricular activities have in common, is the aspect of learning, and taking what we’ve learned and applying it to our everyday lives. By learning more, both academically and on a social level, we can become more well rounded individuals. 

We are respectfully asking for your help and support in getting the administration to reconsider terminating this perfectly viable program. We understand that there is a civil suit pending within the district and some might hesitate to show support. But please consider what is being taken away from us. We aren’t asking for anything drastic. Please go as far as you are comfortable with.  Some ways you can help are: Publicly showing your support for the Winter Guard and the performing arts, writing letters and e-mails to the school, writing anonymous letters, scheduling meetings with administrators to state your opinion, or even just spreading the word. We support the performing arts, do you?

Sincerely, 
The former Ada High School Winter Guard

 

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