Mr. Nohel’s lasting legacy: How one teacher changed the lives of many students

 Mr. Nohel has taught at South for 18 years, and around Minnesota for many more. He will retire after the final day of school this year. There will have a party in celebration of his retirement on Monday, June 10 2019 from 2-5pm at Parkway Pizza on Minnehaha Avenue.

Richard Nohel

Mr. Nohel has taught at South for 18 years, and around Minnesota for many more. He will retire after the final day of school this year. There will have a party in celebration of his retirement on Monday, June 10 2019 from 2-5pm at Parkway Pizza on Minnehaha Avenue.

Norah Austin, Staff Writer

I’m sure you’ve heard of the teacher who plays board games with his students, whether it be during his prep or after the AP Human Geography test. Additionally, I’m sure you’re familiar with some of the teachers who’ve been teaching at South for the majority of their career.

Well, if you haven’t named this person yet, it is the teacher who occupies room 254, Mr. Nohel.

Richard Nohel, more commonly known as Mr. Nohel, can be characterized as the above. He will be retiring after the end of this school year, on Friday June 7. Throughout his career, Nohel has taught various social studies classes around Minnesota. He is extremely well qualified in the realm of social studies, and demonstrates this through his passion for teaching.

“I’ve taught at the Anoka-Hennepin School District…and then I taught at Washburn, Ramsey, Anwatin, Edison, and South,” said Nohel.

Although a history major in college, Nohel hadn’t originally planned to become a teacher. Right out of college, he applied for a job at the Wisconsin Historical Society, but was overshadowed by many people who had higher college degrees.

“Even though I was fairly well qualified, there were like 120 people applying for an entry level job. And the guy who was interviewing said ‘You know you’re extremely well qualified but a lot of these people have masters degrees and PhDs so, you’re out of luck!’” stated Nohel.  “So I thought maybe teaching would be good, and then at that point I was still like 21, but there just weren’t any jobs.”

He then got a job at the University of Minnesota, and continued to work in healthcare for 10 years. While working this job, he met a woman who was double majoring in French and Education, and she encouraged him to move forward with his dreams of becoming a teacher.

He applied for the Masters program and the University of Minnesota Twin Cities, and was accepted, catapulting him forward towards his inevitable future as a teacher.

“I ended up going through the [Masters] program about as quickly as I could and I got a job right away when I finished and [since then] I never was without a job,” said Nohel enthusiastically.

Throughout his time as a teacher, Nohel has taught many social studies classes. Upon asking him this, Nohel responded, “Oh, well I’ve pretty much taught all the social studies classes. I’ve taught World History, US history, Economics, Government, and  AP Human Geography.” Most recently, he has taught AP Human Geography, Government and Economics.

While student teaching, Nohel also taught at South. He fell in love with the atmosphere of the school, and he eventually dedicated 18 years of his career to teaching here.

“The very first time I ever came into the building… I just thought to myself, ‘This is where I wanna be,’” he said. “It took me 14 years to get here, but I just felt comfortable from day 1.”

Nohel has taught at South for the majority of his career, with this year being his eighteenth. Because of the time he has devoted to our school, he has left an especially impactful legacy upon our community.

For several years, Nohel has been the head of the “Pennies for Patients” fundraiser, in which the proceeds go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Minnesota. He holds pride in his creation of this fundraiser at South. He feels as though this fundraiser has made positive change and has encouraged student advocacy within the South Community.

As well, he has contributed to the South community in numerous other ways, including being an adamant advocate for the evils of cell phone usage and the importance of positive and connected student-teacher relationships.

In order to achieve the aforementioned advocacy within our school’s community, he has always been willing to share his opinions through being interviewed for newspaper articles, as well as instilling these values within his students.

He exemplifies these values through his relationships with students, and the way in which he creates a positive and engaging classroom environment. He plays board games with his students, both in class, to teach students important lessons, and during his prep time.

“I will miss his fun board games,” said junior Besso Fraunheim-Danke. “He has helped me learn more about the world and how it works.”

Nohel stated, “Students used to come play [board] games with me all the time during my prep. They don’t come so much now though, but a few students still come.”

Within his retirement, Nohel plans to be a substitute teacher at South several times a month. Most of all, he plans to relax and do many things he enjoys, including spending time with his family and continuing to learn about the vast expanse that is history.

Through all of his achievements within the South Community, Nohel has truly left a great legacy. Although he is retiring, the contributions he has made to our school will never be forgotten.

“A legacy he will leave at South is his fun games and his passion for teaching students,” said Fraunheim-Danke. “He interacts with all of his students, and I really appreciate that.”

Congratulations on a long and prosperous career at South and beyond Mr. Nohel!  All of South will truly miss your presence!