REEDSBURG (WKOW) -- For Ruth Wacholtz, music is a language of its own.
And, it has always come easy for Ruth. She grew up in Menasha, near Appleton, and was something of a child prodigy on the flute.
"I was in the high school band when I was in the 5th grade. I just enjoyed it all the way through," she remembers.
She studied music in college, got her Masters and played in several orchestras, but her real passion was in helping others learn the language that comes so naturally to her.
"I encourage them to practice every day and I tell them, I have to play every day."
Her 46-year paid teaching career included schools in local cities like Sauk City and Madison.
Her 24-year volunteer career has been spent primarily in Reedsburg, where her family also lives. In fact, one of her students is her great grandson, Austin Estes.
"She's really good. She breaks down everything so that I learn it, no matter what," he said.
"It is very important, because throughout their whole life, music is a very important part of their life. Even when they're 50 or 60, they can still be playing or singing," said Ruth.
At the age of 87, Ruth doesn't limit herself to music. She also volunteers with the Reedsburg Women's Club and the Sauk County Health Care Center. Her dedication inspired a chorus of support from people for her to receive this month's Jefferson Award.
"I would like to encourage people who have retired to get into the schools and help. They're going to help the students, they're going to help the teachers, but primarily, I think, they're going to help themselves, to keep on being active."
Ruth follows her own advice and let's her music do the talking.
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