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November 18, 2019
 

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Letter: WG program at Ada HS is a viable, appropriate and necessary experience

To the Village of Ada Community,
I am writing this as an outcry to our community on behalf of the children in our community that are enrolled at Ada High School. I am a proud alumnus from the class of 2014, but today I am not so proud of my alma mater. I write this letter with the utmost respect for Ada High School and the institutions administrators, as I have had the wonderful opportunities to work directly with students in this district; but I can no longer sit on the sidelines and watch our children suffer with no reason or response given. As an advocate for our youth in the community and the arts, I must provide my absolute support to them. 

The performing arts in school was my safe space, my abode, my sanctuary. It was in that environment that I learned strength while pushing my endurance, learned and displayed discipline, and passionately fell in love with one of the most empathetically welcoming platforms for self-expression and creativity. Winter guard provided me opportunity to work hard, commit my time through blood, sweat and tears, and compete locally, nationally and internationally; an experience I learned throughout my collegiate experience was not a normal opportunity for others. It was in that space that I was able to learn humanity through humbling experiences and interactions with all people of all walks of life across the country. I was able to learn skills and values that I have taken with me in every step life.

The winter guard program at Ada High School is a viable, appropriate and necessary experience that has led to my success professionally, academically and personally.

Over the past five years, I’ve been advocating for the arts programs in schools across Northwest Ohio. I’ve been able to work directly with the youth in our school district as an educator for our students through the winter guard program at Ada High School. I’ve been blessed to have been staffed in area school’s arts programs, providing educational opportunities and experiences that will also continue to shape future generations. I’ve been able to assist with growing programs and stopping similar programs from being defunded and displaced out of districts. 

I’m disappointed that I am returning to my alma mater needing to advocate for the students in an institution that was once enriching and supportive, but has proven otherwise. As an alumni and previous instructor at Ada High School, I am speechless and heartbroken by the recent exclusion of the winter guard program that Ada High School has established this week. The recent actions of the Ada High School Exempted Village School District are disrespectful, disgraceful and serving an absolute disservice to our youth, that we should instead be encouraging every minute of every day. Ada High School should be ashamed and embarrassed by the actions the administration has expressed to our children.

If you too want to join me in advocating for the youth of Ada High School, please actively reach out to the administrators and let your voice be heard. As a proud community member, I will not tolerate the actions of ripping away opportunities from our children with no response or reason. Please visit https://www.ada.k12.oh.us/ to find the contact information for the administers that need to hear the reality of the situation. They need to hear the harm they are causing our youth. Call the school, demand to speak to the appropriate people, raise hell, and for the sake of our youth and programs, don’t give up on them just as the Ada High School Exempted School District has given up on them.

Respectfully Yours, 
Justina Fuqua-Black 

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