Wall’s love of music, children adds to vocal teaching career

Donna Wall has been teaching middle school choir since 2005. She said music is an important part of anyone’s life. Aside from teaching, Wall also gives of her time to several area churches and teaches private music lessons. Here, she instructs the sixth grade class during choir. (Photo by Kim Brooks)
Panther Professionals
Kim Brooks
Express Editor

     Panther Professionals is a weekly series highlighting educators, administrators, staff and aides who are dedicated to the future of the Monticello Community School District.

     Music and working with children are Donna Wall’s passions, so it makes sense that she would be the vocal teacher at Monticello middle School.

     Wall started in 2005, and has always held the job working with fifth through eighth graders, as well as assisting the high school vocal when needed.

     “I grew up in Monticello and graduated from here,” she shared. “We have a good school system.”

     Wall said her two passions, music and children, help in her teaching role. She earned a bachelor’s degree from Wartburg College in 1991, double majoring in music therapy and music education.

     “My therapy background helps with some kids,” she said. “It helps me give these kids different avenues to succeed.”

     In 2007, Wall completed her master’s degree in music from the University of Northern Iowa. While teaching full-time for the MCSD, she took one class at a time, while also raising an active family.

     “I wanted to try and gain as much knowledge as I could about my field,” she offered. “And I wanted to see what new concepts or ideas in music were out there.” Wall said every education department is constantly changing, and you have to change with it and stay on top as well.

     Before coming to the MCSD, Wall taught music for both Olin Schools (preK-12) and in Dyersville at the parochial elementary school.

     “Having taught at different grade levels,” said Wall, “I enjoy middle schoolers; I really do.” She said at this age level, the students want someone to listen to them and are looking for direction to feel like they’re successful at something.

     “It’s about helping students realize their personal strengths,” Wall said.

     Aside from working with the large groups of different grade levels, she also offers small-group voice lessons with her students.

     “This helps me get to know their voice and where they might be struggling,” she said. “And, it’s an opportunity for them to show me what they know (musically).”

     Within the fifth and sixth-grade vocal classes, the students will also learn about the musical instruments such as guitar and harmonica.

     “It’s about learning the different music concepts,” Wall explained.

     She also instructs the middle school honor choir.

     “This is an opportunity to expose the kids interested in music to something different,” she said.

     As if teaching isn’t enough for Wall, she also lends her musical talents to a variety of other community outlets. She plays during the weekend Masses at her church, Sacred Heart in Monticello, and sings in the church choir. Wall also plays, when available, for The United Church of Monticello, the Scotch Grove Presbyterian Church, and the Cascade Community Presbyterian Church.

     Wall teaches private piano and guitar lessons, too.

     “Music is important in life,” encouraged Wall. “It’s part of who we are and helps boost out natural endorphins.”

     Her ability to stay active in the community is something the Wall family, with three daughters, strives to carry on. Wall herself was in Camp Fire and earned her coveted WoHeLo Award. She’s been a Camp Fire Leader for 17 years now. Two of her daughters have also earned their WoHeLo, with a third yet to go for the top honor.

     “I like to stay connected with my daughters and spend time with my family,” Wall said.

     The Walls (Donna and Gene) have four kids: Cody who’s in the military in Tennessee; Shelby, a sophomore at Palmer College; Kylie, a senior at MHS; and Destiny, in fourth grade.


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