As we begin our new academic year, we welcome many new staff members. The Woodstocker caught up with some of them to chronicle the first chapter of their adventures.
“It was a beautiful evening, the clouds were out, the sun was shining, and I said to myself ‘You know what? I’m going to move here one day,’” Ms. Deneene Ricketts said.
That day took place four years ago, at Jaypee Manor. “So much has happened in between, I got married, I even had a baby!” Ms. Deneene said, smiling.
Ms. Deneeene worked as a recruitment officer at the University of Guelph in Canada for more than five years. She travelled to India for work many times and always said she wouldn’t come here again if it wasn’t for work. However, the last time she came to India proved to be a prolific time in her life and she had a great experience here in Mussoorie.
Ms. Deneene is the new guidance counsellor for Upper Years, she visited in the spring of 2019 and officially joined in the fall.
In high school, Ms. Deneene always wanted to be a guidance counsellor. She felt as though the help she received from her counsellor wasn’t adequate and that she and other high school students should have received much more. “Many many students think one thing about what they’re going to do when they’re sixteen or seventeen, then they get to university and it’s a whole different ball game,” she said. Ms. Deneene thought it to be imperative that students be more informed about what exactly happens after high school. Ms. Deneene studied at the University of Guelph, with a Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a minor in family and child studies, the same university in which she eventually worked. She fell into international recruitment, wanting to get into college counselling. Working at Woodstock is her first job as a college counsellor “on the other side of the table,” as she called it.
Ms. Deneene’s experience as a high school student and interacting with other high school students helped her formulate an idea of what her career would be if she was a college counsellor. Seeing what students all over the world require and having a pulse on the beat of young people going into university has really kept Ms. Deneene’s eyes open to see what she would do as a guidance counsellor. “I’ve read applications, met international students, recruited students at Woodstock at least once technically,” Ms. Deneene said. Her experience as a recruiter helps her give advice as to what a student needs to do to get into college.
In the four months that Ms. Deneene has been here, she has made a very fond memory with her husband, Jimmy, and her son, Zinedine. “We were trying to buy a scooter and the first time we took Zinedine on the scooter is a memory I will never forget. The wind was in his hair, he was so excited!” she said while laughing.
Being in constant contact with nature is something Ms. Deneene loves about Woodstock. “The school is a part of the mountainside, it is intertwined with nature,” Ms. Deneene said. She finds it refreshing, especially since she came from a metropolitan city. “It reminds see every day that one has to be appreciative of what you’re surrounded by, to just stop and smell the roses or the mountain air,“ she said. “I would love to go for a hike and climb a mountain while I’m here!”
Ms. Deneene’s day begins at 5:30 a.m. and ends at roughly 5:30 p.m. She wakes up to a 13 month-old baby, gets him ready for school and walks down from Hanifl Centre. Sometimes, she’ll have facetime with the juniors and seniors. And then meetings, with students from grades 10, 11 and 12. She also conducts both junior and senior seminar depending on the day. “And that’s done. I’ll reach home at 5:30, and feed the small human, ” Ms. Deneene said, “It’s a nice life, I’m not complaining.”
Nupur Agrawal is the features editor for The Woodstocker
Pictures by Syma Sahu