Ms. Yaghi joins the social studies staff


Alexis Behrens

Ms. Yaghi aims to provide interpersonal lessons on top of the civics class material.

Ms. Nicole Yaghi, a new Civics and Government teacher at Southern Lehigh High School, is on a mission. Beyond education on typical book-smarts, she works to instill positive values in her students, which she feels refine citizen engagement to benefit the country as a whole. 

“[Civics] is a special topic because students can really figure out how they want to be involved in society,” Ms. Yaghi says. “Everything they say and do will impact others, so we want to leave a positive impact.” 

The Civics and Government course focuses on how citizens interact with their society. As such, she feels that interpersonal skills are among the most important lessons for students to absorb. 

“Students should learn to be kind to everyone and be empathetic and compassionate; to accept and value who they are as well as who others are,” Ms. Yaghi says. 

Freshman Avantika Johri feels that this message is clearly communicated through the class. 

“[Ms. Yaghi] said recently that her class is like a life class,” Johri says. “We learn about empathy and how to be a better person. She’s always saying that if we ever have to talk to her we can go to her, which is really encouraging.”

Besides the values of citizen engagement, her teaching has comprehensively addressed the factual side of Civics and Government. Johri addresses how Ms. Yaghi’s attitude towards teaching benefits her classroom.

“She came in with a lot of intention and motivation. It shows that she has a willingness to actually help us understand,” Johri says. “Though we’ve only had her for a few weeks, she brings it up to the standard of a really rigorous course.”

Ms. Yaghi only arrived at Southern Lehigh during the last weeks of October due to her contract with her previous employer, Emmaus High School. While there, she taught Psychology, Sociology, Multicultural History, and Family Consumer Science. She taught these same classes previously at Central Dauphin High School in Harrisburg.

Upon moving, Ms. Yaghi chose to teach at Southern Lehigh for the school’s reputation as supportive and close-knit. She affirms that her coworkers and students live up to this standard.

“This is the first time I’ve been in a smaller school,” Ms. Yaghi says. “It’s very community based and you really get to know students and staff; they have been beyond kind.”

Additionally, as the first member of her family to attend a U.S. college, Ms. Yaghi holds education in high esteem. She feels that the influence of strict and supportive teachers made her who she is today.

“[I have] a lot of gratitude in regards to having the opportunity to learn anything I can about any topic,” Ms. Yaghi says. “I’m also really grateful to be here and learn more from students than I could ever teach them. I’m excited to learn, and listen, and grow as a person.”

Ms. Yaghi’s life outside of the school environment is closely intertwined with nature. She enjoys exploring in general, and national parks are among her favorite destinations. She has recently traveled to Yosemite, the Grand Canyon, and Hawaii, with many more to come.

But here and now, Ms. Yaghi’s philosophy towards teaching invites students to have a hand in their own enrichment.

“Students are always figuring out who they are, and I’m only there to support them,” Ms. Yaghi says. “I want students to be involved in their learning in ways that empower them to be more engaged一in whatever way they see fit.”