National Guardsman Protecting The U.S. Capitol Teaches Remote Band Class


When Sgt. Jacob Kohut learned that his National Guard unit was being deployed to Washington, D.C., to help secure the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden, his first concern was what would happen to his music students.

Kohut has been teaching band at Canterbury Woods Elementary School and Frost Middle School for the past five years and was worried about how another interruption in learning could impact the kids.

"The last thing these students need is a disruption in their teaching," Kohut told the Washington Post. "I would rather teach the class, even if that means I'm very tired."

To ensure that his students don't fall behind, he decided to host band class virtually from Capitol. He starts his day early, teaching his elementary school class from the drill floor of the D.C. Armory before his shift. After he is done, he heads out for a 12-hour shift guarding the Capitol Building.

He uses his afternoon break to teach his middle school class. In one recent class, Kohut was teaching from the back of a Humvee and was photographed showing his students how to play the flute.

School officials offered to find a substitute teacher for Kohut, but he declined, a decision that did not surprise Diane Leipzig, the principal of Canterbury Woods Elementary School.

"He absolutely loves his students and would do anything for them. He is extremely dedicated," she told the Post. "I think he is an excellent example. He teaches our kids the importance of practice, determination, and resilience."

Kohut admitted that teaching music remotely can be difficult but said he just wants to be there for his students.

"It's difficult being virtual and doing music," Kohut told CNN. "If I can be there for the kids even though I'm down here, then it's kind of a no-brainer, that's what I'm going to do, even if I'm tired."

Photo: U.S. Army