Johnstown-Monroe students took to the streets of the village Sunday afternoon in a parade and stadium gathering where the rallying cry was "S-O-S, Save Our Schools."

Johnstown-Monroe students took to the streets of the village Sunday afternoon in a parade and stadium gathering where the rallying cry was "S-O-S, Save Our Schools."

At about 2 p.m. Sunday, students marched from Adams Middle School down Main Street to the town square, where Big Red Band members marched and entertained a small crowd.

Johnstown FFA members, in their signature blue jackets, drove tractors that pulled wagonloads of classmates who want to continue the traditions of the 80-year-old Future Farmers chapter.

The parade ended at the high school and was followed by a gathering at Chambers Stadium.

Superintendent Damien Bawn led students in the SOS cheer before introducing Dan Ross, commissioner of the Ohio High School Athletic Association. Ross discussed the life lessons students learn through sports and extra-curricular activities.

If the schools' 9.6-mill emergency operating levy fails on May 5, the district will cut all extra- and co-curricular activities, all sports, the agricultural education program, French, two elementary and high school teaching positions and a special needs teaching position.

Students participating in sports and other extracurricular programs learn "life lessons you will use every day," Ross said. "When you go to work, you'll be the doctors, lawyers and coaches for the next generation coming after you."

In addition, he said, students show integrity and character through sporting activities.

"Academics are crowning jewels but the extras are the lab portion," Ross added. "That practice is what will return and make a difference in the community."

The J-M emergency five-year levy is Issue 8 on Tuesday's ballot. Cost to the owner of a home with a market value of $100,000 would be $294 annually.

If the levy passes, items that would return to the district include a special needs teacher, re-designed vo-ag program, part-time second foreign language program, most co-curricular and extra-curricular activities, marching band and athletic programs.

For complete coverage of Sunday's parade and rally, see the May 3 edition of The Johnstown Independent.