April 25, 2018
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Brewer High School eyes rock ’n’ roll guitar course

By Nok-Noi Ricker, BDN Staff

BREWER, Maine — There are a number of budding guitar heroes in the city, and school officials want to tap into their talents and will soon offer an after-school rock ’n’ roll guitar course.

Superintendent Daniel Lee told the Brewer School Committee on Monday that a “significant population play guitar or want to play guitar.”

SueAnn Gaitings, the district’s gifted and talented coordinator, surveyed students about the arts in grades five through 12 and discovered that playing guitar was one subject students were interested in.

She found 51 students at the high school and 34 students at the middle school who identified guitar as an arts outlet they were interested in, Lee told the school board.

“In the fifth grade there were 17 who wanted to play guitar,” he said.

With a freeze in spending in place, Gaitings turned to the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation, which has provided a $10,000 grant.

The funding will provide “a rock and roll guitar music program for grades five through 12” as an after-school activity, said Lee on Wednesday, adding, “I was getting ready to write Steve and Tabby a thank-you letter to tell them to rock on.”

Focusing on the arts is a key to create well-rounded students, he said.

No one has been hired to teach and when the program will be established has not been decided yet. When it gets off the ground, students will have to provide their own musical instruments, Lee said.

The grants will “pay for the teacher,” he said. “There is only $300 set aside for supplies and music books.”

“Stephen and Tabitha King have done so much for this area and continue to do so,” Mark Farley, school board chairman, said at the meeting.

During the meeting, the school board also:

ä Welcomed junior Kate Wypyski as a student representative to the school board. City Councilor Jerry Goss swore her in and gave her the following piece of advice: “Be yourself. Speak your mind.”

ä Adopted three new policies regarding student use of cell phones and other electrical devices, e-mail by school board members and retaining records. Copies of the new rules are available at the superintendent’s office.

ä Agreed to partner with Hampden Academy and Hermon High School to align drug and alcohol policies under a program offered under a Drug Free Communities Grant. There is no cost, the superintendent said.

ä Created an honors-level Art I designation.

ä Approved the annual alternative spring break program that sends 10 students and two teachers to work with Habitat for Humanity of Portland. The students will work April 18-24 on a house in North Windham.

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