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Stories from the Well

Mindful Music Moments: A moment with Nirmala Gajorel

Posted on 01/07/16 by Stacy in From Stacy Sims

This week we kicked off the pilot of Mindful Music Moments at the Academy of World Languages, a K-8 magnet school in the Cincinnati Public School district where more than 50% of the students have English as their second language, many of them refugees.

Last year, after Ashley Hunt and I did a 10-week in-school mindfulness pilot with 7th and 8th grade children, I was inspired to create Mindful Music Moments. This collaboration with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra brings classical music excerpts to the entire school EVERY school morning over the PA.

This week, we kicked off the program with an excerpt of Fanfare for the Common Man, a beautiful piece by Aaron Copland commissioned by the CSO in 1942.

Before we listen to the music, Arzell West-Estell reads the announcements and inspires the students with questions about the best way to handle different situations. Then a student recites the Pledge of Allegiance. This morning it was third grader Nirmala Gagorel, originally from Nepal. I got to chat with her a bit, listen to her recite the pledge, then sit with her for our Mindful Music Moments.

Nirmala's favorite subject is math. She also likes to spend time visiting Ms. Katie and Ms. Theresa in the office. She knows at least one other person with the name "Nirmala" in real life but says there are many Nirmala's on Facebook. She is not allowed to have a Facebook profile until she is 14. We agreed it makes you very busy, accepting Friend Requests and all.

Nirmala is Til's sister. We met Til last year with our pilot program. He is VERY fast. Nirmala also did her own hair today. You can't see but the braid in the back is quite good.

We see good things in Nirmala's future. She is a bright and lovely girl and a natural leader.