The Soo brothers take on Westford Academy


The Soo brothers pose for a sibling photo

Anushka Patil, News Editor

Growing up, siblings keep each other in check, whether it be by being there when one is upset, when one is celebrating, or when one needs help. The relationships that stem from sharing every moment with a sibling are stronger than any bond imaginable. As siblings grow up together, they end up teaching each other many valuable lessons that may come in handy when they are older. Although some siblings may move away from each other, some get the chance to stay close together. Lucky enough for one pair of siblings, their lives have intertwined, keeping their relationship even closer.

For the Soo brothers, their jobs have allowed them to work in the same building. Michael Soo, the band director at Westford Academy, started working at WA at the start of this school year. He joined his brother, Mark Soo, a biology teacher, and together they have become the first pair of siblings to work at Westford Academy.

Before both brothers gained permanent positions together, they alternated years at WA, with Michael Soo working as a shadow for former band director George Arsenault during the school year of 2016-17, then, the following year, Mark Soo earned a position at WA, but Michael Soo left. Finally, Michael Soo came back to WA to replace Arsenault after he left for Acton Boxborough Regional High School, allowing both brothers to work at Westford Academy during the school year of 2018-19.

   Going back to their childhood, the brothers were, as they still are, close. They spent many hours together, talking, laughing, and sharing knowledge with each other. As the younger of the two siblings, Michael Soo grew up idolizing his older brother Mark.

   “When we were younger, I would go wherever he went. It was almost as though I worshipped him because that’s usually the case with older brothers. I remember this time when we were younger when I went through a phase of following him around. I was trying to do what he was doing, but I ended up falling, and I got a scar, which I still have today,” Michael Soo said.

   Michael even gained a love for music from his brother, who grew up playing many instruments with a tremendous appreciation for the art. Michael Soo, highly influenced by his brother, decided to take up a few instruments and instantly fell in love.

   “As I mentioned, I idolized my brother, so much as so I wanted to do everything that he did. I saw that he had taken up quite a few instruments, so I immediately wanted to try them myself, and I am glad that I did so because music has become my passion,” Michael Soo said.

   Although both brothers work in the same school, surprisingly enough, they hardly even notice each other in the student-filled building. Mark Soo and Michael Soo both travel the halls of the school, rarely ever bumping into each other. However, on occasion, they acknowledge each other in the most brotherly way.

   “We do not really see each other at school much, and it almost feels as though we do not even work together. From time to time, we run into each other in the hallway. We often laugh and be like, ‘Oh, hey,’” Mark Soo said.

   The role that each of the brothers plays at Westford Academy is very different. Mark Soo is part of the science department, while Michael Soo is part of the music department. Each of the brothers uses skills that they have learned from each other to improve the techniques they use in their classrooms. Even outside the classroom, Mark Soo incorporates lessons that his brother had taught him. Michael Soo taught his brother how to approach music with a different mindset, giving Michael a whole new way of understanding how to play an instrument.

   “Michael [Soo] puts an outstanding amount of effort into his music. He treats music in a way that I have not seen anyone treat it before. I have learned an immense amount of knowledge about   music and how to sound flawless, from my brother,” Mark Soo said.

   From Mark Soo, Michael Soo has long admired and picked up his brother’s ability to be hard-working and dedicated to his craft. Michael Soo respects his older brother for spending many hours tirelessly working to make sure that, with whatever he is doing, that the product is the best possible product he can put out.

   “To his job, my brother is the most dedicated person I have seen. Over the summer he spent many hours making plans for his classes. It was extremely motivating to see how much drive he has for his work,” Michael Soo said.