MONMOUTH — Students in Pam Young’s third-grade class sat glued last week as music teacher Rachel Flugum played a variety of brass instruments.    The youngsters took an audible collective breath when she pulled out the French horn.    “It’s so beautiful,” one young voice said.    Flugum was honored as the Elementary School Teacher of the Year by the Central Education Association on May 15 at the Independence Elks Lodge.    She has worked as a music teacher for 15 years, three in Minnesota and 12 in different buildings within the Central School District.    Flugum knew she wanted to be a teacher since she was in kindergarten, but it wasn’t until she was in college that she realized teaching music was where her heart was.    “Music education helps students be able to express themselves in new ways, develop new ways of thinking, become very focused and build their confidence as a person and performer,” Flugum said.    She grew up playing the oboe, but can play all the band instruments at a beginning to intermediate level. She showed students how she makes her own oboe reeds out of bamboo.    “My favorite moments of teaching are seeing students excited about learning, and watching their eyes light up as they grasp onto a new concept or skill and want to show others what they can do,” Flugum said.    For four years of her career, Central School District budget cuts meant she spent half of her time at Ash Creek Elementary School and half at Independence Elementary School.    “I am very happy to be able to add back the other half of the music curriculum that was put on hold during the time of budget cuts,” Flugum said.    She also is happy to see the district invest in music and the performing arts outside of her building, such as the new auditorium at Central High School.    “Central School District and our community have a strong history of supporting their music education programs,” Flugum said. “My hopes for the future of music education include expanding upon the musical experiences students are exposed to, deepening their understandings and providing students with more opportunities to create and perform music.”


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