Hack leaves program he built on high note




Guitar teacher Brian Hack’s recent notice of his retirement and subsequent lack of return to Roseville High School for the remainder of the school year has struck a chord with a variety of staff and students across campus. Within his more than 30 years teaching at the school he has established the guitar program, served as department chair and propelled students toward their future with his teaching style.

According to former band teacher Mark Toffelmier, Hack’s peers admired the way he invested in his students.

“[He was] a teacher who was very interested in all of his students succeeding,” Toffelmier said.

In his years at Roseville, Hack taught a variety of classes such as AP European History and was able to serve as the head chair for both the social science and VAPA (visual and performing arts) departments. During his time at RHS, Hack created lasting bonds with students and teachers alike.

“I saw a lot of people come and go,” said Hack. “My most amazing experiences were the connections I was able to make with so many wonderful RHS students over such a long time period.”

His contributions also helped the development of the Roseville Guitar program, which offered a unique musical outlet, not yet offered at the school.

“I think the guitar program was different in that it reached out and served the needs of a unique group of students who were not always totally involved with other aspects of what RHS had to offer in terms of music classes,” Hack said.

The addition of the guitar program allowed students, who were otherwise uninterested in any other VAPA, to engage in a program that encouraged musical creativity. According to senior Kyle Gard, a four year guitar student, the program gave him an entirely new outlook.

“[It] opened my eyes to a different perspective towards music and the arts as opposed to taking a science or English class,” Gard said.

The atmosphere created by Hack’s teaching brought life to the classroom, as he focused on ensuring his students were comfortable.

“The atmosphere was always laid-back and students never felt pressured into anything,” Gard said.

According to Hack, the development of the guitar program started a trend that would include more musical pathways, other than just band.

One new musical pathway came with the additional offering of piano classes, which are now commonplace, and part of a larger effort to continue improvement of the musical arts department.
Following Hack’s retirement, administration was quick to place Kenneth Smith as the new head of the guitar classes. Smith is a first year teacher on campus and eager to advance the program with his own teaching style.

“With the advanced students, I have kept their curriculum the same, as many have been with Hack for multiple semesters,” Smith said. “However, with the beginning and intermediate guitar I have began to implement my own teaching style.”

“Although the guitar program is currently controlled by Smith, there appear to be no worries with the students about its future,” Gard said. “I know that he has our best interests at heart and help lead the program to a good place.”

His presence throughout the campus will continue being felt by both students and teachers, yet many are excited to see where his retirement takes him.

“I think the school will miss his presence, and his students will miss him, but sometimes a little voice says it is time to pursue new avenues and adventures,” said Toffelmier.