Since Cobb County School District closed all schools on March 13 for safety and social-distancing, many students have been finding creative ways to continue learning. While academic subjects tended to get most of the attention during digital learning, many other subjects—like art and music—are also important to many Cobb students.
Ryan Ewing is a freshman at South Cobb High School. He plays the trombone in the school band and was looking for ways to stay sharp in his playing. His father suggested learning and playing “The Star-Spangled Banner,” a song that he hadn’t played very often in his three-and-a-half-year musical career.
They decided that he would play it outdoors, so all the neighbors could also enjoy his music. Ryan’s mother suggested playing the song at 6 PM since that was when curfew officially started. And so, a new family tradition was born.
Every evening, Ryan steps out of his front door and plays the first of two daily performances of our national anthem. Neighbors yell and clap their approval immediately as Ryan’s playing trails off.
He then carries his trombone about 800 yards away, to where his driveway intersects Fontaine Road. He plays Francis Scott Key’s famous tune once more for passing vehicles and the broader community. More neighbors yell and clap and cars honk their horns as they pass the South Cobb student’s daily practice routine.
Ryan’s simple gift to his local area has been very well-received. Most neighbors have come to expect it and look forward to it each evening. One neighbor called Ryan an “encourager of the community” as she stopped her car to listen before heading out to get some shopping done.
Ryan himself is very humble and takes it all in stride.
“Once the Coronavirus took off, I wanted to do my part to help,” he said.
“I agreed with my Dad that I needed something extra to do during quarantine,” he continued. “I dedicate my playing to the hard-working people who are fighting for the health of all of us, from grocery store employees to hospital staff and everyone in between.”
The freshman has definitely earned the praise of his parents.
“Ryan has always been inquisitive about the impacts of our society on our environment,” Ryan’s parents said proudly. “He is constantly reading about the bravery of the health care workers on social media. Since he could not physically volunteer to help, he found a way to express himself to society and the environment around him. It’s a daily ritual he performs with pride and respect for those who put themselves in harm’s way for all of us.”
Thank you, Ryan, for your willingness to act and be an encourager for your neighbors at this difficult time. You and many other Cobb County students are showing that there are still many positive things happening despite all the hardships that tend to dominate the headlines.