Fun facts about the Dana Hall teachers and staff

Dana Hall teachers have entire lives outside of the classroom that none of us know about, and some of you may be curious, so I interviewed them to find out. I asked each of them: “What is something the Dana Hall community doesn’t know about you that would be fun to share?”

Did you know that English teacher Meg Gayton is a singer, actor, and performer? Ms. Gayton participated in a lot of musical theater in her high school, college, and adult years. She said, “I do musical theater and I’m a soprano 2 and I love belter roles.” This includes playing Glinda from Wizard of Oz and singing a song from Avenue Q. It’s been a while since she’s been on stage in front of the bright lights. Her favorite role in college was the lead in a show called She Loves Me, based upon You Got Mail. She joked, “If teaching doesn’t work out, I’m getting my Broadway career ready.” 

History teacher, and sailor, Karl Neumann got interested in sailing a couple years ago while he was studying about the China trade and how ships sailed. Other experiences he has are volunteering for a ship festival in Boston and being invited to be on a Viking ship at the Mystic seaport museum in Connecticut. On his adventure, he met really interesting people, “because sailors are interesting people.” Then, in the summer of 2019, he lived on a ship for two weeks and learned how to be a proper sailor. Mr. Neumann explains, “I like to learn by doing. I could read a book about sailing but if I don’t actually do it, I don’t understand what it’s like to be someone on a ship from the 1600’s.”  For him, it’s about community and being in touch with nature. He says, “You end up meeting people from all over the world and all walks of life.”

Sous Chef Irvel Barosy, may seem like your typical, chatty cook, but in reality, he listens to American rock band Dave Matthews and Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli. At first sight, you may think Irvel wouldn’t be interested in such unique music from his sarcasm and apathetic character. To him, Andrea Boceli’s unique blend of pop and opera and Dave Matthews’ rock and jazzy tune “relaxes’ ‘ him. Irvel also says, “I watch a lot of soccer and I watch a lot of wrestling.” He says these sports are fun and that his favorite team used to be Brazil, but now he doesn’t have one anymore because Brazil lost the World Cup 2022. 

Our new librarian, Dana Sly, was chosen to decorate for a White House holiday party during former President Obama’s presidency. Growing up, Ms. Sly watched a decorating special on HGTV about decorating the White House. This is what sparked her excitement for this event. When she moved from Iowa to Boston, Massachusetts, she decided to shoot-her-shot and apply for the White House Christamss decorating program, now that she was closer to Washington DC. Prior to this, she had no decorating experience at all. When Ms. Sly got accepted, she spent two days preparing decorations and two days setting up in the White House. For this party, there was a gold leaf motif. She was assigned the Palm Room, a passageway between the East and West Wing. “It was almost like a sunroom, with trellises, plants, and big windows and doors”, she describes. Unfortunately, not being a White House staff meant that she could not be in the room when President Obama viewed it. Ms. Sly said, “I saw his head as he walked by with all of the Secret Service agents.” During her time there, she also got to pet Sunny and Bo, the president’s Portuguese Water Dogs who, to Ms. Sly, were “very soft and very well-behaved”. 

Are you interested in signing up for this decorating event? Keep an eye on the White House website where they will post the application over the summer. They take about 100 people and then an additional 50 people for the vice president’s house.

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