Although a "Hannah Montana" themed guitar wasn’t Court Croghan's preference, it was the first of several donated to the David City Elementary music program.

Croghan started work as a paraprofessional educator in David City Elementary School's special education department in September 2018 after graduating from Concordia University in Seward. He's been playing guitar as a hobby for the past five years and approached music teacher Mistyn Kozisek about teaching some students how to play.

“I like to play guitar, I play guitar a lot. I thought it would be cool if we could get the kids some guitars,” Croghan said. “A guitar isn't an option at a lot of schools. It’s more your classical band instruments. And I thought maybe there’s a kid not super good at the flute or great at the trumpet, but maybe they’ll make one heck of a guitar player.”

Although she had some ukuleles on hand, the school was lacking in guitars. So Croghan set out to change that. In late January, he posted an ad to the Seward County Swap Shop Facebook group asking people for cheap or free guitars that could be donated to the school. In the past two months, eight guitars have been donated from the local community, two of which were donated by Croghan’s mother.

The music department has been busy with the recent Mid Winter Music Concert held on Feb. 26, but once Croghan is able to properly tune the guitars, he said he wants to make them available to students in the school's music classes. He said he would like to potentially organize an after-school group where students can play together.

At first, Kozisek said the guitars will be tested out by fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders since younger students might be too small to properly play them. The instruments are just another tool Kozisek said the school can use to help instill the value of music in its students.

“It’s the elementary school teacher's job to do what we can to get kids loving it, loving music,” Kozisek said. “So I think something like this, kids having access to a guitar might later on (help them) be a lifelong learner of music.”

Croghan said his goal is to get enough guitars for an entire class to use. He said he hopes that instruments of higher quality will make their way to the school. If anyone is interested in donating a guitar, Croghan can be reached at croghanc@dcscouts.org.

“I hope this is a start for guitar at David City,” Croghan said. “I hope they just keep on getting better and better in quality and enough guitars for a whole class.”

Eric Schucht is a reporter for The Banner-Press. Reach him via email at eric.schucht@lee.net.

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Eric Schucht earned his bachelor's degree in journalism at the University of Oregon in 2018. He has written for The Cottage Grove Sentinel, The Creswell Chronicle, The Pacific Northwest Inlander and The Roseburg News-Review.

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