Venturing into the literal wild, new staff leave the safety of their monkey-less roads and tackle the great unknown we call Woodstock. The Woodstocker caught up with some of them to chronicle the first chapter of their adventures.
A few weeks ago in morning assembly, Woodstock welcomed the new general music teacher, Ms. Eileen O’Neall, who would be teaching music to all students from grade one to grade eight who aren’t taking any music ensemble.
Ms. O’Neall is very happy with the warm welcome she got from students and staff and looks forward to being part of such a well-knit community.
“One of my first impressions upon arrival was the incredible sense of community, people really being each other’s advocates,” she said.
She first encountered this “incredible sense of community” with Woodstock’s buddy system, a system where old students are assigned to welcome new students adjust at school.
“It was cool because even people who weren’t buddies took on that role,” she said.
Before she came to Woodstock, Ms. O’Neall was studying ethnomusicology in London, and prior to that, was teaching music in Darjeeling.
She decided to come to Woodstock because she was curious about music education in North India, and because after her interview with Mrs. Webb, the vice principal, and the HOD of music for the general music teaching position, Woodstock “seemed like a place where the faculty and leaders really cared for the students.”
“I felt like I place I would be able to grow, as a music teacher and also just as an educator in general,” she said.
When asked about her aspirations for the following year, Ms. O’Neall said that she was looking forward to deeper relationship, and watching her students grow musically.
Besides teaching, Ms. O’Neall is also the founder of her own non-profit organization that provides access to the arts for communities and schools that don’t necessarily have that and greatly desire for the arts.
Her organization provides access to people from India, Norway, England, United States, and several other countries across the world.
“We’re a global community, artists and musicians and people who are just passionate about being generous,” she said.
Accessibility to these arts are provided by teacher training and funding of instruments and other purchases.
When asked about what led her to teach the subject, Ms. O’Neall said, “Along with my passion for music, I feel that it’s really important to offer access to music and the arts for the lives of younger people.”
Photo by Mikko Aoki