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Apollo-Ridge students learn other lessons while learning how to play the guitar | TribLIVE.com
Valley News Dispatch

Apollo-Ridge students learn other lessons while learning how to play the guitar

Mary Ann Thomas
| Monday, January 21, 2019 4:30 a.m

Guitar class at Apollo-Ridge

“You may find a cushy job and I hope that you go far,

But if you really want to taste some cool success,

You better learn to play guitar.”

If John Mellencamp’s “Play Guitar” song is true, Apollo- Ridge students are well on their way as the district’s education foundation bought 30 guitars for a guitar-playing class.

It’s taken by all ninth-graders.

Demonstrating some fret changes on her guitar, chorus teacher Lori Paouncic told her students, “It should sound like it wants to go somewhere.”

They try to follow. Then it’s on to the next exercise.

“So give that a whirl with string fingers 1, 2 and 3,” Paouncic said. “Nice. Now play it in ‘G.’ ”

In her first year at Apollo-Ridge, Paouncic didn’t have a lot of instruments in her humanities class, which the guitar lessons are part of. She had taught beginning guitar before and students loved it.

“Beginning guitar is more advanced, but it allows the students to get their hands on an instrument and create something,” she said.

The humanities class, especially for the students who are not in band and who don’t play an instrument, is the last chance to have a music class.

“It doesn’t take a lot to play a couple of chords, and suddenly they feel they are little rock stars,” Paouncic said.

Paouncic, a new teacher at Apollo-Ridge, submitted a proposal for the guitars to the district’s education foundation in the fall, which was quickly funded with the first class starting in October.

“We loved the proposal because it was from a new teacher who wanted to create a new learning experience,” said Cristine Kostiuk, president of the Apollo-Ridge Education Foundation.

The Foundation was able to pay $4,000 for 30 guitars. The money came from funding from the state Educational Improvement Tax Credit Program and donations from local businesses McCutcheon Enterprises, Elderton State Bank, First Commonwealth Bank and NexTier Bank.

Freshman Kalob Bentz, 15, played guitar before. He prefers to play guitar to taking notes in another class.

Merissa Nowikowski, 15, of North Apollo had a Toys R Us guitar with Disney characters on it when she was younger. The school guitar is much different, of course.

“I learned chord and notes,” she said. “I would take this class again.”


Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary Ann at 724-226-4691, mthomas@tribweb.com or via Twitter @MaThomas_Trib.


Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, mthomas@tribweb.com or via Twitter .


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Apollo-Ridge chorus teacher Lori Paouncic works with student Kalob Bentz in guitar class, a new offering at the school since the district’s educational foundation donated 30 guitars.
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