Buzz On Over and Meet Our New Teachers!


Marquee on Ridge Road that welcomes everyone to Damascus.

JoJo Okrah, Associate Editor-In-Chief

The bright lights of our school have attracted 20 new Hornets this year in 15 different departments. Their stories are as varied as the subjects they teach. I had the chance to interview four of them.


Meet Sra. Aguilar, new world languages teacher.

Sra. Aguilar, Spanish Teacher

JO: How long have you been teaching?

SA: Ooh wow, let’s see…I’ve been teaching for about 16 years. 

JO: So why did you want to become a teacher?

SA: I actually was in college studying to be a pediatrician, and I’ve always liked medicine. But you know, I had my daughter and so I wanted to be able to spend time with her and also work with children because that is something I always wanted to do as a pediatrician. And so career plans changed and I decided to look into teaching and I’ve never looked back!

JO: What is something you want students to know about you?

SA: I am a very positive, happy person. I tend to be very cheerful in my classes and I try to pass that on to my students. I want them to find languages as something fun for them to be able to use in the real world and to see the importance of it. And use it not just to learn about other cultures, but to help people.

JO: What is something you’re most excited about teaching at Damascus?

SA: I’m really excited to share culture with Damascus High School! Not just Hispanic culture, but that of Asian-Americans, African-Americans. You know, we have so many different cultures represented here and I really want to showcase that and be proud of it.

JO: What is one fun fact about you?

SA: One fact? Ooh, I like to snowboard.

JO: Where do you snowboard?

SA: I’ve gone to Ski Liberty, I’ve gone to Massanutten up in Virginia. I just like it, it’s fun!


Meet Mr. Eagleson, new social studies teacher.

Mr. Eagleson, Social Studies Teacher

JO: How long have you been teaching?

ME: I have been teaching since 2010, so 11 years?

JO: Why did you become a teacher?

ME: Both my parents are teachers. My mom is a special ed math teacher. My dad is a vocational teacher. He teaches electricity. This is something I knew since 7th grade-that I wanted to be a teacher. Why I chose history? It was the best subject that I did when I was in school. I’ve always had an interest in geography, history, cultures. I never became a world traveler, but this was the closest that I could get. 

JO: What’s something you want students to know about you?

ME: I don’t know. I’m not that interesting…

JO: There has to be something! One thing!

ME: Can I come back to that question?

JO: Ok sure. What are you most excited about teaching at Damascus?

ME: Well I’m excited to be a part of the community. The students have been awesome! But it’s just a continuation of why I wanted to become a teacher. I think now I have the opportunity where I’m also coaching here as well.

JO: What do you coach?

ME: I coach football

JO: JV or Varsity?

ME: Both. It’s an opportunity to kind of be closer with players instead of being detached from the community. 

JO: Ok, this kind of goes with the interesting question, but what’s one fun fact about you?

ME: Like I said; I’m not the most interesting person in the world- I’ll go back to your earlier question. I would say my favorite sport is hockey, but I don’t know how to skate.

ME: What’s one fun fact about you, help me out? 

JO: I’m a black belt in Karate.

ME: I mean this isn’t really a fun fact but I’m originally from Pittsburg.

ME: Ok so fun fact, my role model- my mom. My mom had me when she was 20. She had my brother when she was 22, she was a waitress. My dad was always working to make money and she was putting herself through school as well. I can barely watch my now 2-year-old, and she was watching two kids at a much younger age going through college. So her perseverance is very inspiring. 


Meet Mrs. Vanderslice, new art teacher.

Mrs. Vanderslice, Art Teacher

JO: How long have you been teaching?

MV: So this is my 17th year teaching but I’ve always taught elementary art, so this is my first year teaching high school art.

JO: Are there any differences between teaching elementary vs. high school?

MV: There are definitely differences. Which is why I’m so excited to be at a high school to see the students with a higher skill level and more passion for creating art and taking it further and closer to going to college for art!

JO: Why did you become an art teacher? 

MV: So ever since I was a little girl I said that I wanted to be a teacher. My mom ran a daycare and I was always around younger children while she was doing that. And then as I got into school and became interested in art, I kind of put the two together because I knew I loved art, and that teacher aspect kind of stuck with me from being a little girl throughout high school, and I knew it was the best combo to put together.

JO: What’s something you want students to know about you?

MV: That I’m really excited to be here, and I’m excited to meet everybody and help them grow. To just let them have a place to let their creativity shine and have a place away from the academic subjects. Where they can come in and create and feel free to be themselves.

JO: What are you most excited about teaching at Damascus?

MV: Well most of my classes are my ceramics classes which I had a really big passion for when I was in high school. So I’m really excited about that! I love teaching my foundations class because it gives me time during the day to teach lots of different materials like painting, oil pastel and drawing.


Meet Mrs. Zappone, new English teacher.

Mrs. Zappone, English Teacher

JO: How long have you been teaching?

MZ: This is my 26th year teaching.

JO: Why did you become a teacher?

MZ: So very interesting, teaching runs in my family. My mom was a teacher. I have two grandmothers who were teachers. And so when I was in college I was thinking I would either go into education or law. I graduated with an English degree and my secondary education certification. And I thought, “alright, let me graduate, let me get a job, let me see how it goes” and actually law school was going to be my backup plan. If I didn’t enjoy teaching I’d take the LSAT and apply. And I loved it [teaching]! I was like this is fun- it’s hard but I enjoy it, so I stuck with it for 26 years.

JO: What’s something you want students to know about you?

MZ: That I’m always cheering for them. I want them to be successful. So sometimes it may come across as the tough love approach but we have these deadlines, we have these expectations. Inside, I want them all to succeed and do well. And I want them to walk out of here saying “you know what, I like English.”

JO: What are you most excited about teaching at Damascus?

MZ: Well one thing is that Mr. Yates and I worked together at Sherwood High school like 20 years ago. I was excited to come back and work with him again. And then also, the Damascus reputation of the school spirit and the community is really exciting to me because I  like to be with people. I like comradery and relationship building and the fact that we’re all in this together and that it all matters and that we all care.

JO: What’s one fun fact about you?

MZ:  I am a diehard fantasy football fan!

MZ: Yes, I love football and I love taking the players every weekend.

JO: Damascus was a good school for you then!

MZ: Yes! I could tell you I like to read but that’s not surprising.