September 25, 2008

Newsmaker: Dan Hanczar

By Jason Cato

Residence: Oakdale

Age: 56

Family: Wife, Kate; children, Nils, 29, Rory, 25, Danielle, 23, Katia, 21

Occupation: Social studies teacher at West Allegheny Middle School

Education: Bachelor's degree in education, Indiana University of Pennsylvania; master's degree in education, University of Pittsburgh

Background: Has taught social studies at West Allegheny since 1975; has played guitar for 45 years; member of Mad Mike's Blues Review and Trinity Jazz Ensemble

Noteworthy: Selected to receive the Root American Music Award, the first such presentation by Gateway to the Arts. The award was created in honor of University of Pittsburgh ethnomusicologist Deane Root, a former Gateway board member. The award is given to a teacher who has participated in the Voices Across Time Program, host each summer at Pitt to focus on the integration of music into non-music school subjects. Hanczar said he plays music in his geography classes from the countries students are studying.

Quote: "Music just grabs kids' attention. Even if it's not their style of music, I try to teach them it's cool to take things from other cultures," Hanczar said. "It broadens their whole perspective on the places they're studying."

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