When Viviana Calles describes the setting of her childhood neighborhood in Buenos Aires, Argentina she evokes images from the classic 1957 musical West Side Story, a tale of families outdoors in the evenings, lounging on stoops, sharing convivial stories about life and love with ever-present vats of bubbling pasta sauce nurtured by mamma-mias in every kitchen. Outside in the street, the pseudo-rival gangs of Jets and Sharks, snapping their fingers and prancing along in side-step with love and good humor in the air. Her neighborhood was, surprisingly, an Italian neighborhood. And Viviana (maiden name Oddone), half-Italian by birth.
Meet the Faculty
Each week we profile one of our new faculty or staff members. Check back regularly for updates and learn why DIS people make the difference.
Anyone who thinks Geography is only about pointing out countries, continents or oceans on a map should sit down for coffee with Lucile Perret. One quickly learns that geographic location is only the starting point, the launching pad for looking deep into the heart of humanity: what makes people tick, how societies grow and define themselves, what makes up our lives as humans on a tiny planet whirling through the vast expanses of space
Sont les mots qui vont très bien ensemble, très bien ensemble.
When Paul McCartney penned these words for the 1965 Rubber Soul album, he didn’t know a lick of French. He’d asked a friend to translate “these are words that go together well,” and come up with something sort of close, he later said. Though not a perfect translation, he liked the sound of the elegant langue française and the meaning of the words. Then he added a chorus of “I love you, I love you, I LOVE you…” and it became, to all the world, a perfect Beatles song.
To really get the feel for this profile, you may want to queue up Simple Minds’ Don’t Forget About Me. It’s got a cool vibe, just like Patrick. And it’s one of his favorite tunes, too.
The History and English teacher at the Waterview Parkway campus likes much of the mellow, synth-pop music of the 1980s and ‘90s, but the generally quiet and unassuming Patrick also has a hard rock side, opting on occasion to “do a little thrashing” when heavy metal bands tour through Dallas. One recent weekend, he dropped in on Orbit Culture when they swung by with Avatar and Tour of Maya. “That was pretty much a headbanger show,” he says.
Any avid carnival or circus goer knows that there are many different types of juggler. There’s the toss juggler - one who always keeps at least one object (an apple, a ball, a running chainsaw) in the air while handling several others. There’s the bounce juggler - one who keeps an object springing back from the floor, ceiling or wall (without even looking) while flinging and catching still others. There’s the trick juggler - one who blends together a range of styles and objects (rings, balls, pins, pineapples) while crossing arms, skipping, sitting or dancing.
“I am but a pair of ragged claws scuttling across the floors of silent seas.”
Hearing this, DIS 5th and 6th grade English teacher Kim Nall smiles broadly, instantly recognizing the quintessential line from T.S. Eliot’s “The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock.” As a published poet herself, she knows these things. And if poetry can be viewed as a window into someone’s soul - as many poets suggest - then for Kim it becomes something much more: a window into seeing the world as a giant, wide-open sphere that deserves to be explored.
Sometimes when you speak with someone to get to know them, the most interesting tidbits fall out at the very end, almost as an accident or an afterthought. Once you’ve covered the basics and are wrapping up what has already been a good and meaningful conversation, out pops a golden nugget, an incidental aside, that really wraps everything up and shines a new and insightful light on everything else you’ve learned.
Such is the case with Waterview 5th grade teacher Marie Bossy who - after describing her youth growing up in the beautiful south of France, attending college in Aix-en-Provence (where she studied biology) her appreciation of the great outdoors and her love of riding horses - drops the simple morsel that she is also an accomplished painter.
Travel to New York City and you’ll see, perched high atop a towering pedestal in the city’s harbor, the Statue of Liberty, a gift from the people of France to the United States in 1886 to celebrate the nation’s independence and its many historical ties to the French Republic. Designed by noted French sculptor Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi and built from copper sheets around Gustave Eiffel’s steel framework (yes, the same Eiffel who designed the landmark tower in Paris), the monument symbolizes the promise of freedom in America - life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
That’s a bit of history about freedom. And history and freedom are two subjects DIS French Immersion teacher Karen Jouve cares deeply about.
For Ying Hutchinson, Mandarin teacher at the Waterview campus, it’s always been about interpreting. The word “interpreting” literally means “the process of first fully understanding, analyzing, and processing a spoken or signed message and then faithfully rendering it into another spoken or signed language.” And Ying does that well, having earned both undergraduate and graduate degrees in Translation and Interpretation from Nanjing Normal University in east-central China.
“I would see big high-level meetings between nations on the television or live at conferences and events and it always intrigued me to see and hear the translators at work,” Ying says.
Roughly 75 kilometers northwest of Cairo, on the road to Alexandria, you’ll find the Anafora Retreat Center - a postcard-perfect Egyptian desert oasis staffed by Coptic priests whose mission is to provide a center for meditation, enlightenment and silent introspection. The name “Anafora” itself means “elevation.” At this bucolic retreat in the heat, you’ll find archaic dwellings, filled with pottery and artwork from times gone past. You’ll find aromatic soil in which to grow herbs and vegetables. You’ll find a library and plenty of reading rooms for quiet contemplation.
And for one full summer a few years ago, you would have found Waterview’s French literature teacher, Justine Colombet.