Need an Inspiring Love Story? Math Teacher Marries Over Summer


Lauren Van Gheem, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

Mrs. Denise Percival, formerly known as Miss Rykal to the NDA community, spent her summer getting married and training to better prepare students for the ACT. 

Percival met her spouse, Chris, during the summer of 2017. They met on the beach at South Bay Marina.

“I was working for Green Bay Sail and Paddle,” she said, “and Chris was working as a sailing instructor for International Youth Sailing of Oshkosh.”

Denise Percival explained how caring and generous Chris is. They share a love for sailing and the outdoors. 

  “He goes out of his way to open a door for an elderly person, a female or a veteran. He is also very sarcastic and funny,” she added.

Percival shared her engagement story. 

“We were driving into Green Bay from Oshkosh around dusk when Chris suddenly announced we had to drive down to South Bay Marina so he could get a training manual out of the trailer down at the beach.  I, of course, questioned this…it was November, sailing had been over for three months. He said he had to do some updates to it for the next season. Oh, okay. So we drove down to the beach, and I pulled my truck up behind the trailer so my headlights would shine on the back door.  It was freezing outside, especially on the bay. He opened his door, got out and said, ‘Aren’t you coming?’ 

 ‘Are you kidding?  It’s freezing outside!’ I said. 

 ‘Well, I need you to hold the flashlight in the trailer’ was his reply.  

‘Ok, fine.’  So I get out of the truck, he meets me at the front, grabs my hand and gets down on one knee.  Pretty romantic, right? After he proposed and I said yes, he started walking me back to the truck.  I said, ‘Wait, you forgot to get the binder out of the trailer!’  He replies with a smile, ‘I didn’t come down here to get a binder.”’

Chris Percival and Denise Rykal married on August 2 of this year. The wedding was small with about 40 of their closest friends and family members. 

“After spending a lot of time together; mostly sailing, walks on the beach and adventures to the Great Lakes, we fell in love,” she said. “We shared dreams and future plans and we were inseparable.”

Percival teaches Honors Pre-Calculus and Algebra II here at NDA. 

The school sent her to Tennessee for three nine-hour day trainings to learn all about the Math ACT. 

“I was able to get my Basics and Math ACT Certified Educator training,” said Percival. 

During this training she learned tips about what makes up the ACT and how to succeed when taking it. Percival also answered 200 math questions from multiple ACT exams. 

“I’ve gained a deeper knowledge of what makes up the math portion of the ACT and what kinds of questions are asked,” she said. “I will be listed on the ACT website as a Math ACT certified Educator.” 

The most valuable thing she learned is that students take the math portion of the ACT differently from how math is taught in the classroom.

Despite wishing for more summer days, the newly married Mrs. Percival is ready for a new school year.