Alumni Success Story: Holli Moote '13
–By Christy Wolff ’10
From the time Holli Moote ‘13 was young, she had her heart set on becoming a teacher. During her high school years, her love for music grew, which helped in her decision to teach music. In the years to follow, Moote learned from her own music teachers about what it took to become one herself. Four years at Trinity and two countries later, Moote is living out her passion by teaching music to children halfway around the globe.
Small class sizes and large performance groups at Trinity – specifically choir and band – gave Moote valuable class time and hands-on experiences throughout the time she was working on her degree. Moote especially appreciated the freedom she had in her music classes. On one occasion, she chose to study Icelandic music for a project. She located an Icelandic woman living in Chicago to help with the project — a benefit of Trinity’s campus being just 30 minutes from the diverse city of Chicago.
Moote always wanted to study overseas. However, with the significant courseload of the music education program, she simply didn’t have the capacity to fit a traditional semester abroad into her schedule. Dr. Joy Meyer, Trinity’s Dean of Education, helped Moote find an international student teaching placement through a Trinity alumnus in Indonesia. “This is when I fell in love with Indonesia,” Moote recalled. “The food, the people, the landscape, the weather – I loved everything about the country.”
Moote’s student teaching experience was focused on music and English, both of which aided in Moote’s growth as a teacher. A number of Trinity professors also visited Indonesia while Moote lived there. “They made a point to contact me and visit, which meant a lot,” Moote shared.
At the end of her placement, the school offered Moote a position, which she accepted. For five years following graduation, Moote taught middle and high school music classes. Knowing her heart was in elementary music, she felt pulled in a different direction with new opportunities in 2018: South Korea.
Currently living in Seoul, the bustling capital of South Korea, Moote found her dream job of teaching music to 350 students between second and fifth grade. “With teaching elementary students, there is still exploration and play associated with music. I enjoy helping kids grow and discover joyfully,” Moote said. The school she teaches at is made up of students from 60 different countries, with differing levels of English-speaking skills.
Moote also enjoys exploring a new region of the world, particularly the culture, food, and learning a new language. “I was able to travel around Korea this summer and got to see the countryside, beaches, and mountains around the country. Getting to see so many beautiful places helps me love it even more,” Moote shared.
Reflecting on her teaching journey that began at Trinity, Moote described how prepared she felt to teach abroad, thanks to Trinity’s professors and classroom experience. Moote recalls a project called “Building Bridges, Serving Communities” where Trinity students worked with local Muslims to begin cleaning up what is now known as the Cal-Sag Trail near campus, with the purpose of strengthening the community. “Connecting with people and loving people – that’s what Trinity does best,” Moote shared.
Moote is also thankful for the theology and philosophy classes she took at Trinity, which challenged her and prepared her to talk to people with different backgrounds and beliefs. “Living in a different country opens your eyes to the world and how many perspectives there are,” Moote said.
For Moote, Trinity wasn’t just a four-year college experience; she still connects with several professors as she is able to. “I felt seen and known at Trinity, and that continues even today,” Moote said. Through an incredible program, a global classroom perspective that capitalized on its location, and a community of people that took the time to understand her hopes and dreams, Moote is impacting lives all around the world through music. She embodies the Trinity spirit that seeks to live out their calling for good, for God, and for the world.