I'm not exaggerating. If Taylor Hawkins could get any cooler, I don't know how.

I got word that Taylor Hawkins of the Foo Fighters was returning to Riverside Central Elementary School to check up on students as part of the Turnaround Arts Program. If you missed it, Taylor is an ambassador to these Rochester kids. His goal is to keep them interested in (and excited about) the arts.

If his drum solo with Mike Aturi didn't keep them engaged, I don't know what will!

Before that piece of amazing, Taylor was treated to a video presentation of how the kids had stayed active in the arts since his first visit in November of 2016.

He was obviously super impressed. His wife (who tagged along) was too. Clearly, keeping kids interested in the arts and using it as a positive platform for self-discovery is a common goal Taylor, Mike, and Riverside administration all have.

During a quick interview, Taylor admitted that Riverside is "a real breeding ground" for successful kids.

"It's about following your passion and not trying to be famous," Taylor says. That's all he, Mike, and the administration wanted students to know. All of them echoed the "follow your dreams" message.

Since Turnaround Arts have been implemented in Riverside Central, I was told that attendance and grades have gone up. A press release states, "Riverside saw a 43% decrease in suspensions, 69% decrease in behavior referrals, increase social-emotional learning through arts integration and artist residencies, increased community positive recognition through the arts, and staff turnover decreased. In its second year, Riverside has increased staffing dedicated to the arts, woven the arts as a foundational piece of the community schools initiative, worked with community partners to increase access to the arts, continued to focus on increasing social-emotional learning through the arts, and supported student-choice-based arts integration."

You're probably curious about Taylor's Vikings shirt too - I was! I asked where he snagged it and he said it probably came from his brother-in-law, and that he really is a Vikes fan!

What an AWESOME program we have in Rochester. Shoutout to Riverside Central Elementary for keeping kids engaged in the arts and encouraging this important program!

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TSM Rochester / Val Kleinhans
TSM Rochester / Val Kleinhans

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