A veteran teacher at Wenatchee's Columbia Elementary School has been inducted into the Washington Music Educators Association (WMEA) Hall of Fame.

Tami Lopushinsky has taught music in Wenatchee since 1999. She is retiring next month. Lopushinsky was nominated for the Hall of Fame by two colleagues: Garrett Snedeker of Lewis & Clark Elementary School and Ashlyn Dobbins of Sunnyslope Elementary.

According to a press release, Lopushinsky was present for the induction ceremony in Yakima. There she professed gratitude for the mentorship of more seasoned teachers. She also addressed her beloved students, some of whom kept making music long after her time with them had elapsed.

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This particular Hall of Fame was established by the WMEA Executive Board to recognize "outstanding contributions to the growth and development of music education, both public and private, in the state of Washington."

But a harsh reality is taking shape on the ground. Strapped for cash and plagued by mounting shortfalls, public school districts across the state - across the country - are slashing, and sometimes eliminating, music instruction. Back in March, the Northshore SD elected to abolish its fifth-grade music program.

In Seattle a year ago there was much hue and cry over Washington Middle School dissolving, or threatening to dissolve, its prestigious jazz band. The program was ultimately saved by a last-minute cash infusion.

Public education is itself in peril. Take, for example, the school where Lopushinsky so bountifully flourished. For months debate has raged over whether or not to shutter Columbia Elementary, an institution battered by plummeting enrollment (26.5% since 2016). In five short days the Wenatchee School Board will vote on Columbia's fate.

Teacher Appreciation Week is ongoing; it concludes tomorrow.

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From Patsy Cline to Garth Brooks, take a look at which of your favorite artists have earned a coveted spot in the Country Music Hall of Fame.

In 2024, Toby Keith, John Anderson and James Burton will become members No. 153 to 155. This list of Country Music Hall of Fame members is alphabetical by last name.

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