James Justice, a Baldwin Middle-Senior High School 11th-grade student, has won a position with the Boston Crusaders, a World Class Drum and Bugle Corps that will be marching in the Presidential Inaugural Parade.
The Boston Crusaders are one of 55 groups selected from more than 2,800 applicants to perform in the parade. The event will take place on Jan. 21.
Justice will be making the trip to the nation's capital for a weekend of rehearsals for the performance and this summer's competitions.
"You hear all the time about how students from all over the county are selected to represent the district in various activities on a national level and it makes you proud, but when it's one of your very own students, it really strikes a chord," said Principal Rhonda Motley. "I'm very proud of James and all of the hard work he has invested that landed him this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity."
Justice set the goal of marching with a drum and bugle corps early in high school while he played the alto saxophone. However, these organizations do not use any saxophones, so in January 2011, he began learning to play the euphonium, which is best described as the little brother of the tuba. Through his willingness to work on fundamental techniques as advised by his teachers and his diligence of practicing regularly, Justice advanced from the level of beginner to a member of a World Class Drum and Bugle Corps in less than one year.
"This is a prime example of why our music programs are so vital in our schools," Duval County Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said. "We want our students' passion for music to afford them unique opportunities and experiences."
In addition to the Inaugural Parade performance, Justice's summer will culminate with performances in August at the Drum Corps International world championships at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana. Last year, the Boston Crusaders placed seventh in the world.