Midwood Alumn Shares Skills as Coach

By Jared Hwee ’19

Ms. Danielle Daskalakis is a left-handed athlete, a gamer, a karaoke veteran, a dog lover, and is in love with Asian culture. Having gone to Midwood herself, she has recently become a new physical education teacher and assistant coach of the girls handball team.

When she was just three years old, Ms.Daskalakis’ first sport was softball. This decision was inspired by her father, and she joined private teams and tournaments. She played until she was 16 years old and was a part of the softball team for Midwood, which was coached by Ms. Jenny Ferrarin.

Ms. Daskalakis started going to Midwood in 2004. This is when she started taking an interest in handball.

“Most of my friends were Asian,” said Ms. Daskalakis. “All of them were playing handball, and I eventually picked it up and liked it a lot.”

She joined the girls handball team and instantly dominated the division. She left all of her opponents under 7 points and developed a reputation of being one of the best. Ms. Daskalakis was co-captain of the girls team. Alongside her was Ms. Kimberly Lau, the current AP Environmental Science teacher, as co-captain of the handball team.

“She had a brolic reputation,” said Tiffany Chiu, a long time friend since high school. “She even took it to the next level.  By sticking with handball, she became a global phenomenon.”

Mr. Jay Park, a long time friend and student teacher at Midwood, said, “People called her ‘DreamKrusher.’ She plays people and crushes their dreams—it’s pretty self-explanatory.”

Ms. Daskalakis then attended Stony Brook University in 2008, dorming there for four years. Her roommate was Ms. Lau. Ms. Daskalakis was tutored by Simon Lau, who later became Ms. Lau’s husband, in chemistry, math, and even picked up a few Chinese phrases along the way.

Ms. Daskalakis continued handball by playing on the Stony Brook four-wall team, becoming co-captain, again with Ms. Lau. Handball was always on Ms. Daskalakis’s mind.

“I remember studying one night, and all I heard was a loud bang,” said Mrs. Lau. “I was so scared, and when I looked over to see what had made the noise, I realized that Ms. Daskalakis had smacked our wall in her sleep.”

In 2009, Ms. Daskalakis won a world title for one-wall Girl’s singles—19 unders in Portland, Oregon. She continued to win two more titles: one-wall Girl’s singles—23 unders in Ireland, and the title she is most proud of, the Opens—Women’s singles and doubles in Canada. She is looking forward to securing another world title this year.

“I want to win,” said Ms. Daskalakis. “I’ve been going to the gym, going on runs, and playing more games to win. It is essential to stay in shape.”

Additionally, she has also been a part of Team USA for handball. Ms. Daskalakis has games, interviews, and  multiple articles on her career posted online.

“Google me,” said Ms. Daskalakis.

Aside from her stunning handball career, Ms. Daskalakis has other hobbies. She plays a lot of Call of Duty, Fortnite, board games, and spikeball with her friends. In addition to gaming, she goes mini-golfing, has competitive karaoke nights, and frequently goes to the gym. She also participated in Ms. Lau’s wedding as a bridesmaid.

“I have a group of friends, around five to seven people, and we get together and have fun,” said Ms. Daskalakis.

Ms. Daskalakis is also a dog fanatic, owning four dogs. She has two Dachshunds named Jack and Louie, a French Bulldog named Bella, and a Boxer named Bubba.

Ms. Daskalakis is an enthusiast of the Asian culture, surrounding herself with Asian friends, enjoying Asian food and Asian music. She enjoys listening to K-Pop, drinks an ample amount of bubble tea, and enjoys going to Dimsum.

If you ever see her around, she loves to drink honey green tea with half honey from Kung Fu Tea.

Ms. Daskalakis had several majors during college and took some time to figure out what she wanted to do as a career. After some time, she decided that she wanted to become a physical education teacher.

After getting her degree, she came back to work at Midwood. She now assists Mr. Williams in coaching the girls handball team and has helped them reached the finals.

“Ms. Daskalakis is very inspiring,” said Vina Weng ’20, a member of the girls handball team. “She’s awesome,  caring, and a very strong person.”

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