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March 29, 2014

Students protest proposed cuts

AMESBURY — An estimated 150 of Amesbury’s youth walked together from the high school to City Hall to the Bullnose in Market Square and Upper Millyard amphitheater yesterday to protest the proposed cuts to the high school programs for the FY15 budget.

The movement took shape as part of a student-led campaign called “Save the Soul of Amesbury’s Schools.”

“I’m going to cry, ‘Save the Soul,’” said co-organizer Cody Care, 22. “It’s incredible knowing that all of these people want to come down here in support of not only education, but the future. I want to take this state-wide. I want to take this nation-wide.”

Dubbed the “March for Amesbury Schools,” the demonstrators walked and danced down the streets to protest the proposed cuts to the high school’s music and drama departments, technical education and the early college programs.

Planning for the march began only one week ago, and through the use of social media, blossomed into yesterday’s event that saw students holding signs reading, “Continue the Investment in Amesbury” and “Save the Arts” for passers-by and drivers on Main Street, many of whom honked their horns in support.

Amesbury Crime Prevention Officer Tom Hanshaw was overseeing traffic during the Bullnose portion of the demonstration and said his biggest concern was getting the demonstrators to cross the street safely.

“People are very passionate about the arts and music and theater and drama,” Hanshaw said. “It is definitely a community issue. A lot of people showed up, so that is a good sign. It is good to see young people getting involved with programs like this.”

Amesbury High freshman Maggie Bornstein is currently in the Drama Club and hopes to continue to do so next year.

“This will put my entire high school career at risk,” Bornstein said. “It would affect where I go to college. The arts are important for development and I think that is a huge, huge thing.”

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