by Thomas Biamonte
The new school year is well underway and a flood of new faces fill the halls here at OHS. Today we will be focusing our attention on two new teachers of the arts here at Oceanside – Ms. Busk, a former HBO employee and Ms.Taplin, an Oceanside alumni of the class of 2013. I had the opportunity to sit down with both teachers and interview them. Here is what they had to say about their new teaching positions.
Ms. Busk is the new Broadcasting and Video Production teacher at OHS:
What did you do before you found yourself in this position as a teacher?
I began working at HBO two months after my college graduation from Quinnipiac University. I spent the next 15 years working in various departments. During my time there, I was a media librarian, control room assistant director, broadcast scheduler, and an encoding coordinator. I was in the department that launched all digital media and streaming for HBO & Cinemax across multiple platforms for the very first time, i.e. HBO Go, Max Go, HBO Now, HBO On Demand, Max On Demand, etc.
How did you learn/become passionate about teaching?
I always say teaching found me. When the HBO building closed down and I was faced with a choice to relocate or take a buyout, I was forced to really evaluate my life. After a health scare, the answer became clear. I needed to find a life worth living. I took the buyout without a plan in place. A few months later, I saw a job posting to work in Great Neck School District’s TV Program, GNPS-TV. I never expected to hear back, but I got the job! My connection with my students along with a conversation with the school’s assistant principal about the value schools place on career changers gave me the motivation and courage to go back to school to pursue a Masters in Education at the age of 37. My leap of faith paid off, but I look back and can’t believe I left HBO like that.
What are your hopes for the next 10 years in your department?
In the next 10 years, I hope to have a fully operational TV Studio for the students. My classes are heavily based on real world experiences. Having a TV Studio will set Oceanside students apart from other students when applying to colleges. I remember feeling at a disadvantage when I went to college because I came from an underfunded school district. There were several students who had already worked in school TV studios when we arrived freshman year. I want to continue to generate interest in the program and grow it ten-fold.
Ms.Taplin, a former OHS Thespian honor society president and graduate of the OHS class of 2013, is now a full time acting teacher:
How did you learn about your passion for theatre/performing?
My family is very musical, so I’ve been singing since a young age and have been dancing since I was 5 years old. I’ve been hooked ever since.
What was your experience like as Oceanside Alumni?
It’s very special to me that I get to work in the place that was so important to me when I was younger. Being in the shows here and serving as Thespian President was such a highlight of my High School experience, and I feel very grateful to be able to give back to students that are just like I was. Plus, working with my favorite teacher is such a bonus!
What made you realize that you wanted to be a teacher?
I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a teacher. But when Mrs. Gallo was my teacher, I knew I wanted to be just like her.
Where do you see both yourself and the theatre department in 10 years?
I see myself and the theatre department continue to grow and blossom. I’m excited to see what the future holds!
As these new teachers settle into their positions, you can feel the buzz of creative energy as you pass by their rooms and the excited students who murmur about their classes in the halls. Overall, it is an exciting new era for OHS. It is a time when creativity and the arts are being embraced more than ever and the students that are involved are feeling more connected with their peers as they embrace these new found experiences and passions they have discovered through these teachers.