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Highland's 'You Can Do Both' series goes 'A little bit viral...'

A couple of women holding musical instrumentsDescription automatically generatedTheir Facebook post about kids who played musical instruments and had other hobbies, too, quickly racked up nearly 4,000 shares, and looked so professional, one might have thought it was part of a national campaign. But it was all local - straight out of Highland Elementary School in Derby.

“We’ve gone a little bit viral,” said Principal Colleen Politowski. “That’s quite a thing for our little school.”

Highland music teachers Erin Eno and Rebecca Schroeder give the backstory that started when Ms. Eno saw an Instagram post about a student who played an instrument AND played sports.

“Every music teacher struggles with the same thing,” Ms. Eno explained, “students who want to drop music because they want to take up a sport or other activity.” But here was something different – a kid who did both.

Both she and Ms. Schroeder already knew music and sports don’t have to be an either/or scenario. Ms. Eno’s sport was field hockey and she still played cello. Ms. Schroeder was an avid bowler and she still played bassoon. They realized that bringing that kind of experience and encouragement to others could be a terrific recruitment tool.

So, Ms. Schroeder coined the phrase, “You Can Do Both.” They sent permission slips home to parents to allow their children to be models. Those whose slips were returned were invited to the music room for photos. And then they were invited back, “We realized we really needed some props,” said Ms. Eno.

The props, the children’s expressions, and their creativity with poses, brought out the magic. “You Can Do Both” had the makings of not just a message, but a very persuasive and engaging movement.

  • Among the photos, more than 30 in all, are: Kennedy, who loves softball, wielding her violin like a baseball bat
  • Jax with his saxophone, balancing a soccer ball on his head
  • Noah in his dirt bike outfit, holding his bass clarinet
  • Ev, who is into boxing, holding a tuba, with an expression defying any thought of crossing either the kid or the instrument
  • Ryan, who loves cooking, with one hand on the mallet to bat his big bass drum, the other holding a spatula aloft
  • Angie, who also loves cooking, has her viola in one arm, while her other arm gives an Italian kiss of deliciousness
  • Mariah, who loves dance, doing a back bend over her string bass – WOW! (6 takes for that one!)