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I read with interest Tina Calabro's Dec. 3 "Breaking Down Barriers" column ("Marching Into the Mainstream"). In the column, a band leader from West Allegheny High School is quoted as saying "It's awesome to see how far we've come." Truer words were never spoken.

I have a special interest in this article, as I, too, have a physical limitation -- cerebral palsy.

Back in the 1960s, I was an eighth-grader in Aspinwall Junior High, part of the Fox Chapel Area School District. I was a drummer in the school band. Near the end of the school year, the band director came to me and said that if I could not march on the football field during the half-time show, I could not be in the band. Knowing that I could not physically do that, I quit the band. Had I been born after passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act, this would not have happened.

Things have changed. Today, when I attend Fox Chapel High football games, there is a female band member who uses a wheelchair. The school provides an aide for her, to get her on and off the field before and after the band's half-time show.

For me, I feel great that this young lady is able to perform with the band, and the school district supports her being there.

DENNIS J. IURLANO
Sharpsburg


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