The Instrument that Rules Campus

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Mr. Mike Portal teaches the popular guitar class.

Every school year, students craft their course schedule and have the freedom to choose their electives. However, not all students at Northwood School this year have been able to take the elective they want, because the demand for one course is surging. Guitar class has become by far the most desired course on campus. Ms. Jill Walker, the Dean of Academic Affairs, is in charge of creating students schedules. She said she has had to turn away several students from guitar because the demand is so high. This year she even added a third section of guitar to give more students the opportunity to take the class and still there is not enough room. Students who haven’t taken it want to take it, and students who have taken it want to remain in the class to continue to improve their musical skills.

The man behind the magic is music teacher Mr. Michael Portal. He loves his job and his love for the guitar extends to all students who have taken his class. He said that it “Feels great [that the demand for his class is so high]. I love guitar and it’s awesome that a bunch of students are getting into it too.” Mr. Portal started playing the guitar when he was ten, and it has been a passion ever since. He currently plays in two bands, a bluegrass band and a rock funk band. He is in his second year at Northwood, and was previously a Spanish teacher in Vermont. His teaching experience combined with his guitar prowess makes him the perfect fit for the job. “I enjoy teaching and have worked with young people for a while,” hea said. “I love the guitar, and for my job to include music is just awesome for me.”

Students shared reasons why they love guitar class as well. Viljami Kanerva ‘17, who is in his second year of guitar, says that he enjoys it because “It takes my mind off everything else. For forty minutes a day I can just forget about everything else and play the guitar.” Gustaf Artfelt ‘17 is in his first year of guitar, and says he enjoys it because “it is a nice change-up from normal life and all my other classes.”

I am currently in my first year of guitar as well, and I am loving it. It is a another passion and skill I can add to my life, it is a great way to take my mind off of everything else, and Mr. Portal is a fantastic teacher. The guitar rave is real, and fellow students, I recommend you find your way to Ms. Walker’s office, and sign up to take guitar whenever you can get it on your schedule!

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