In school, some teachers give you lessons that stay with you well beyond the classroom. That is certainly the case for one metro woman, who is now hoping to have the same impact on her own students.
“I wasn’t planning on being a teacher,” Yolanda ‘Yoli’ Zamarripa told me.
She is setting up her room for her second year of teaching English as a second language, to kids who remind her of her own family.
Yoli said, “At the end of the day I always wanted to help somebody.”
“What I noticed when I was in high school was that they kept to themselves,” she remembered about some of her former classmates who spoke English as a second language.
In her classroom, though, her students are able to come out of their shells.
“They just think it’s really cool that I’m a female playing soccer, and I still play,” she said, “and I think it blows their mind that I’m a goalie.”
Coach Yoli went on to play at Southern Nazarene University after being part of the NW Classen team. She now incorporates dribbling contests into her class to engage her students.
“I bring a ball and tell them, if you can beat me in 50 juggles, then go ahead,” she told me. “No one has been able to beat me yet, so that’s kind of cool.”
She uses her story to inspire.
“Nothing was ever handed to me,” she emphasized, “especially being a Hispanic female playing soccer and getting to go to university pretty much debt-free.”
There, she had to learn to curve her ball around life's obstacles.
“December 2013, my older brother passed away in a car accident,” Yoli recalled. “He was a year older than me, so all of his teachers knew me.”
She continued, “You hear, ‘we’re family, we’re family’, but it’s something I would have never believed those words were true, if I hadn’t gone through what I went through.”
NW Classen teachers helped raise enough money to pay for the funeral.
“So 11 months later, my dad passed away,” she added, “and again, the same thing. Northwest was the family that stepped up.”
That is what brought her back, to give back.
Yoli said, “The road set for you is not the end of the road.”