Scholarship Winners Named for Capitol Community

More than a year ago, the newly-opened Capitol Theatre asked HeadCount to come up with creative ways to give back and promote participation in democracy and community.  We came up with the Capitol Community program, auctioning off the best seats in the house to raise money for scholarships.

But there's a twist - these are scholarships for teachers who want to bring a little Rock N' Roll to their classrooms.

We had the privilege of selecting three rockin’ educators to represent the Capitol Community at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum’s Summer Teacher Institute!

The week-long Summer Teacher Institute, which begins next Monday, helps educators connect popular music to their own classroom curricula – from the history of hip-hop to the science of sound. The scholarship winners are:

Richard Kauffman, Riverside High School (Yonkers)

Martin.Billig.000 (1)Mr. Kauffman, a resident of Mahopac, NY,  is an English literature teacher who incorporates music and lyrics into his lessons whenever he can. "When teaching literature, it is always beneficial to add cultural enrichment, such as order to capture student attention and imagination." He is also a trained musician who has played in various rock bands for nearly 30 years. Mr. Kauffman is hoping to take what he will learn at the Summer Teacher Institute and use it to help students better understand the setting of the 20th century.

Martin Billig, New Rochelle High School

Martin.Billig.RealMr. Billig hails from White Plains, NY and teaches American history, sociology and philosophy. Every day, he plays three or four “Songs of the Day” when students enter his classroom, with each song related to a theme of that day’s lesson. "It is an inescapable fact that the history of this country is reflected in its music, no matter the period." Mr. Billig uses rock and roll music to help bring the history he is teaching to life. He also plays guitar.

David Grazioli, Rye Neck High School (Mamaroneck)

David.GrazioliMr. Grazioli is a math teacher who often equates music to mathematical concepts, even working the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum logo into a geometry lesson! In his scholarship application he said “We are constantly told to create lessons that cater to the different learning styles and intelligences of our students. Music is one of those ‘intelligences’ that is underutilized in most of our classrooms, and I would like to learn how to effectively incorporate it into my mathematics classroom.”

Funding for the scholarships came from the Capitol Theatre donating its “Presidential Box” – considered the best four permanent seats in the historic theatre – for most concerts. The box is auctioned off to the highest bidder, with proceeds being directed toward the Capitol Community Fund. Auctions for future events can be found at Upcoming auctions include Cyndi Lauper, Everclear, Chris Isaak and Melissa Etheridge.

Thanks to all of the incredible educators who applied and for all of those teachers keeping rock and roll in the classroom!