For Nick DiMarco, his life in education has truly come full circle.
A Clear Lake native and 1983 graduate of Clear Lake High School, he was in the first class of former junior high schoolers to enroll in what was then the brand new middle school in 1977.
This year, he is welcoming students to the newly-remodeled middle school, but that’s not the only full circle in his professional life. Not only has he taught with teachers who were once his teachers, but he’s also reached that point in his career where he is now seeing students who are children of former students.
“I’ve been here 21 years, and I’m now having kids of kids that are coming through,” he says with a smile.
And yet, after all these years, he’s still energized by the start of each new school day.
DiMarco earned his bachelor’s degree in elementary education, with a science and middle school minor, from the University of Northern Iowa before returning to Clear Lake to teach.
“It was a great experience,” he says of coming back and being mentored as a new teacher with teachers who once graded him. DiMarco teaches seventh and eighth grade science and enjoys helping his students see the practical application of science through hands-on experience
“When middle school kids think about science, they think about mixing things and fire and explosions, and changes of color, and so we get in to all of that. It’s just basic chemistry, but that’s what their idea of science is,” he explains.
For DiMarco, bringing even a simple experiment to life is still fun — especially when he sees it bring a spark into the eyes of his young learners.
“I really enjoy watching how each of the kids learn and how they attack problems. Everybody is different, and everybody attacks these science problems in a different way,” he notes.
As a science teacher, DiMarco says the ultimate success comes when students begin to realize that science is unlimited and they have the power within themselves to keep on learning.
“I like to see how the kids think, and get them to a point where they realize they can do it — it’s not a mystery. If they put their mind to a problem, they’re going to be successful,” he concludes.