Rock stars visit Rochester elementary school

Riverside Central Elementary School welcomed a pair of rock stars on Wednesday.

Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, along with Mike Arturi of The Lovin’ Spoonful, played at an assembly as part of the Turnaround Arts program.

Turnaround Arts is an effort to help schools struggling with funding arts and music programs. Schools are paired with mentors, like Hawkins and Arturi, who offer guidance and support to the school while it is participating in the program.

The drummers encouraged the students to find and explore their passions.

Hawkins took some time to talk about what motivates him, aside from his rock-star status.

"Well, that’s just part of the job," said Hawkins. "But really, in actuality, the music is still the most enjoyable part and still the passion that drives me to get up and do it everyday."

Hawkins also says that Riverside Central feels like home, and has enjoyed connecting with students through the turn-around program.

This was his second visit to Riverside Central for the program. He visited last year as well.

Riverside Central is in its second year of being a Turnaround Arts school. In that time, school officials say they have noticed a 43 percent decrease in suspensions, a 69 percent decrease in behavior referrals and an increase in social emotional learning through the arts.

Nationally, 84 schools participate in the Turnaround Arts program. Seven schools are located in Minnesota.

The Turnaround Arts program is nationally funded by the National Endowment for the Arts. There is also support from corporations, individuals and non-profit partners.

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