At Mandan Middle School, it’s not just the kids finding their voices. It’s the teachers and staff, too.
“I love doing it, and don’t get a lot of opportunity,” says Doreen Oakland, the school counselor at MMS.
“That’s probably why I like it,” says Ben Dossenko, the computer teacher. “To get out of my comfort zone a little bit.”
Those are just two of the 18 members of the Mandan Middle School Faculty Choir, under the direction of Mrs. Jean Dunn-Gefroh.
“We’re together with meetings and teams and committees and all kinds of stuff like that,” Gefroh says. “But when we come in here, it’s terrific. We just get to sing songs!”
A few weeks ago Mrs. Gefroh put out the call to any adult at the school to come sing — and she says it lit a spark immediately. “The first day, people had tears in their eyes, and I was like, this is awesome.”
And the teachers aren’t the only ones fired up about it.
“When I announced it to all my choirs, they were just, ‘Is Mr. This and Mrs. That in there?'” Gefroh says. “They’re so excited to see if they’re taking part.”
Among those taking part is Ben Dossenko, the computer teacher. He hopes his students learn a meaningful lesson by seeing their teachers belting it out: “To be able to teach them that, ‘look, there’s more than just that digital world. There’s another world going on. Participate in it!'”
As for the faculty? They say they’re grateful to join together in song — and grateful for a music teacher who goes above and beyond.
“She does so much to interact with us, and to get us to interact with each other,” Oakland says. “So that’s a very big plus for our whole school.”
“She’s just one of the great examples of somebody who really loves their content, and that comes through to the children,” Dossenko says.
“It brings people together,” Gefroh says. “It’s a universal language.”
Mrs. Gefroh and the Mandan Middle School Faculty Choir — all people you should know.