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  • Jason Inanga

Jason's Jive January 2024

This month I am dedicating my column to a young lady in Beltsville, who has consistently excelled in many areas. Recently, her mother made a post on Social Media, advising that the daughter, a graduate of the Beltsville Adventist School on Ammendale Road is excited about the prospect of travelling to New Zealand with the Takoma Academy Choir, to participate in the 13th World Choir Games. The School participated in 2018 and won 1 Gold and 2 Silver medals.

            Ten choirs from the US participated that year and won a total of 14 medals. Takoma Academy is the only choir from Maryland that will participate in this event that is held every two years. The challenge is to raise $300, 000 for the trip, for the students to compete in this world-renowned event. Through a variety of fundraising efforts this year, the Takoma Academy community, the Chorale students and their parents, are working diligently to raise funds. They need to raise 70% of their goal by March 15, 2024. Tax receipts can be made available upon request for donations.

            So I am requesting your support: Before you donate, please read more about this special Beltsville young lady, who has quietly inspired other young ladies in her school and church.

            So let us meet 17-year-old Hannah Joy Tobias, or HJ as we call her.  I have known HJ since 2007 when I first moved to Beltsville, MD from the Caribbean Island of St. Kitts. We met, I connected with her parents, and we have been good friends ever since. I even had the honor of teaching HJ and some of her set at church (I did Children and Youth Ministry at the Beltsville SDA Church for many years). A very responsible young lady and leader, having come through the Pathfinder Club, she continues to aspire to greater heights, and I am optimistic that in the years to come, she will be able to look back and give of her time and resources to the Beltsville Community that is home to her.

            HJ has been singing and performing since the age of two years old. She sings because she sees it as an outlet. She sings when she is happy as well as when she is sad. I have known her to be a very confident and assertive person. Not afraid to engage you in a conversation.

            HJ sees trips like this as good exposure for her and her peers. They learn responsibility through the planning that goes into being ready for competitions like this. The effort creates team spirit, perseverance, responsibility and dedication. It takes many hours of practice, commitment and diligence to get the job done.

            They want to bring home the gold this year and the support of the community is needed to get them there. For those who pray, they also want your prayers for success and a safe event.

In 2020, the school had to back out of the event after all the planning and hard work, due to the outbreak of the pandemic.

            HJ is like a second daughter to me. Let us help in any little way to contribute to her gofund me effort to help raise funds for their trip. In addition to competing, the students will have an opportunity to visit and learn about the people and culture of New Zealand and Australia, as well as participate in service projects.

            So I will end by posting the link again. Click on it to read more about the choir, see videos of past performances. Even if you are not able to donate at this time, kindly support the school through your presence at their concerts. Merry Christmas and have a great, prosperous and safe transition into 2024.

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