Passing of April Dunn
It is with great sadness, that we share the passing of April Dunn. April had been a student at American Family Martial Arts for many years. She was a tenacious warrior and always put her full effort into training. The 33 year old April passed away due to complications from COVID-19 on Saturday March 29, 2020.
Through a lot of hard work and persistence, April had achieved red belt status at American Family Martial Arts in 2017. In general, it takes about 3 years to reach that level. It took April a little longer due to some health challenges and a car accident.
April didn’t let her challenge of fetal alcohol syndrome from her birth mother stand in her way of changing things. She was instrumental in getting the state Legislature to pass an alternate graduation diploma in 2014 (Act 833) for students with special needs. (article from Families Helping Families) . This was followed by Act 303 in 2016, which allowed previous students with disabilities who had earned enough credits to graduate but could not pass the state standardized exit exams to receive a high school diploma. This was a personal mission for April as when she graduated high school in 2014, she was only given a certificate of attendance for 4 years of high school after maintaining a 3.5 GPA.
April continued to advocate for persons with disabilities and at the time of her death was a staff member in the Governor’s Office of Disabilities Affairs. She served as the chair of the Louisiana Developmental Disabilities Council, and when Gov. John Bell Edwards created the “State As A Model Employer Taskforce”, April told him how much she wanted to be part of it because of her struggles to find meaningful employment. (The Advocate). In 2019, she was awarded a Champions of Equal Opportunity by the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (LaDDC news).
Please join in sending God’s peace to her adoptive mother Joanette and her grandmother Gloria. April -Go Rest High on that Mountain, you have more than earned your peace and joy!