Lindsay Volhofer performs the song “50 Nifty United States” when Northwestern Elementary Grade 5 is learning about states and capitals.
1960s songs written by Ray Charles (not Ray Charles) have been a very popular way for elementary school students to learn the 50 states for decades.
“This is one of their favorite songs,” said fifth grade teacher Amanda Russell. “They always look forward to it.”
Bollhoefer enjoys connecting what students have learned in other classes into their daily lessons. After all, there are songs for almost everything.
“It’s really nice to be able to talk about some of the skills they’re learning,” she said. ”
For the past 15 years, Northwest mainstay Bollhoefer has taught students in grades 1-6 about audience etiquette, how to read music, rhythm, and the science behind music in general music classes. She also leads an after school choir program from 4th grade through her 6th grade.
i love little kids They are great,” said Volhofer. “That’s my passion.”
Michelle Byrn saw Bollhoefer’s passion when he was growing up. Maconacqua’s music teacher, Byrne, took Volhofer as a student at Caston School Her Corporation.
“I saw her talent and her dedication to music education,” Byrne said.
Byrn has seen it done as a colleague, noting how Bollhoefer positively contributes to her community and school culture.
“When you see it, it’s really something special,” Byrn said.
Unknown to Volhofer, earlier this year Byrne nominated her for the Indiana Association of Music Educators’ Outstanding Primary Teacher Award.
“I’ve seen how much she contributes to students in the classroom and school culture,” Byrn said.
Russell sees it too. She sees it in the holiday programs Bollhoefer organizes, and takes time to ensure that every child has a meaningful role to play.
“She tries to include even children who are really bad at speaking in front of adults,” Russell said.
The nomination was a “big surprise” for Volhofer.
She had marked November 9th on her calendar when she was supposed to find out if she won. That date came and went.
“I must have gotten it. It’s totally fine,” she said. “I probably didn’t deserve it.”
She contacted the Indiana Association of Music Educators to find out who had nominated her so she could thank them.
“I definitely could have cried,” said Volhofer.
That the nomination was from her former teacher and longtime friend made it even more special.
“It’s indescribable how she acknowledged being in me,” Volhofer said. “She’s very honored. It really is.”
Teachers in the Northwest appreciate Byrn’s current position.
“Honestly, on her own merit, she was going to be this kind of person,” Byrne said. It’s a really great gift to have as a teacher.”
Bollhoefer will be attended by her family at the Indiana Association of Music Educators’ Professional Development Conference in January.