The 2020-2021 school year was nothing if not interesting for students. It got a lot more complicated for one Virginia school when their music teacher was called up to defend the Capitol.
When the Capitol protests happened on January 6th, many National Guard members were called upon to go to the area and provide security and protection. One of those members was Dr. Jake Kohut.
Kohut was a member of the DC National Guard unit, a group of 25,000 troops in the DC area. For the last 11 years, he has been with the 257th Army Band,
He also has been the music teacher for Canterbury Woods Elementary School, located in Annandale, Virginia. When it was time for him to head out, Kohut refused to have a substitute teacher take over his class.
According to WUSA9, Kohut felt strongly about both of his responsibilities and recognized that teaching these students is just as important as defending the Capitol. Primarily, due to COVID, it has been incredibly "difficult getting" them, he said.
"It's also a difficult time for us in the band world. We're trying to sign these kids up for band in middle school, and the last thing that's good for recruitment is the band teacher up and leaving for who knows how long."Dr. Jake Kohut
However, even Kohut was not sure how he was going to pull it off. He missed two days of class because of his responsibilities with the National Guard, but taught the children the rest of the following week. All via Zoom.
According to Sgt. Kohut, "The kids are excited. It's been something that's new and fresh for them."
Arriving in the first National Guard group, Kohut watched over the perimeter before they even had the fence built. He said, "It kind of felt like we were a part of history, but it also felt like it was a very long day."
Most of his teaching was done with a mask on as Kohut was sitting in a Humvee with his fellow soldiers.
"The flute does fit in my backpack, but it's not known as the manliest of instruments," Kohut said.
While Kohut may have been teaching the kids music lessons, he also taught them another lesson. One of dedication and duty to them and his country.