Anyone who knows Hilliard Darby Media Specialist Nikki Henkel would say she is a beaming ray of light. She is a great resource for students and staff, and she always promotes positivity around her. As the world started dealing with COVID-19, Nikki struggled as her daily exercise routine was disrupted; many of the gyms she used before and after work were shut down. While talking to her colleagues, she uncovered many of them also had the same problem. Nikki, also the wellness coordinator at Darby, decided that she should start a fitness group that would meet outside a few times weekly to work out. She designed HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) workouts that were fun and brought people together throughout the difficult times. She started these workouts three years ago, and she still has a constant group of people that attend. The group calls themselves the TRIBE.
“COVID was not a positive experience, so it was fun to get together and lift each other up, and as long as you’re moving and grooving, it’s a positive. Also, it’s a good time to connect with other staff who are a part of the TRIBE. They lift each other up, and we realize the strength as a whole. It’s good to get together with positivity,” Nikki said. She learned that positivity is infectious and that it can spread throughout a classroom a lot quicker than COVID can.
Nikki has taught in the district for over 26 years, and she says that things have changed since she began her career. She has learned that now, more than ever, she needs to support students to navigate the world as well as academics. “How do we support kids to navigate the stress and anger that they bring with all that baggage that is unseen at school? Once we see that, we can navigate that and help them.” Nikki is always a positive, smiling face that students can go to, whether they are having issues inside or outside of the classroom.
Nikki said that her favorite thing this year at Darby is the people. “We have such a unique place, and we have something really special here at Darby.”