This past fall 13-year veteran teacher, Nicole Darmofal, joined the Our Lady of the Lakes Catholic School family. Slated for our secondary division as the seventh-grade life science teacher and seventh and eighth-grade social studies teacher, she also took on the role of National Honor Society advisor for our high school students. Attending Eastern University the entirety of her post-secondary education, she earned her bachelor’s in secondary education, social studies and history and a Master of Education for history, America and European.
Darmofal (top left) helps students learn about the flight pattern of birds by comparing to paper airplanes.
Darmofal says she “always loved history” and describes herself as “total nerd about it.” Her interest was cultivated from an early age. Growing up in Livonia, she would play army games with the children in her neighborhood closest to her age who happened to be ten boys. Directly next door was a family of seven, who were all involved in military service. She had WWII veterans as grandparents, and her parents would be sure to stop by historical sights while traveling on summer family vacation.
In the classroom, Darmofal understands that not all of her students share her passion. “You have the interest, or you don’t, but you have to make it interesting,” she says. “Any kinesthetic learning for history should be incorporated into the classroom curriculum.” During a WWI lesson, Darmofal took her eighth-grade students into the gym and engaged them in a trench warfare activity. Students physically crawled through a mock-up trench and were given scenarios to play out of what soldiers endured. “The students loved it, and all of them remember trench warfare to this day!”
Darmofal (top right) and (bottom center) enjoys chaperoning at field trip to Cedar Point with fellow Lakers staff and parents.
She knows the importance of connecting with the students, to make them feel at ease and be someone they aren’t afraid of. “I had two awesome high school teachers [who] academically pushed me and genuinely cared about my well being overall,” shared Darmofal. Whether it was in class or athletic tryout, her confidence was built up and she felt she had a support system. It was these teachers who inspired her to enter academia herself to keep lifting up students.
As the school year wraps up, Darmofal reflects on her first day at Lakes, “My first day, teachers and staff went out of their way to come down and say ‘hi.’ Everyone has been so welcoming. There’s been support from day one.” She loves the community and family she has found already and can’t wait to get even more involved.
We’ll leave you with Darmofal’s advice she’d pass along to herself as a middle school student: “Worry about you. Focus on yourself. Don’t worry about other people, it’ll save you a lot of headache.” She hopes everyone learns, “only you can make you happy.”