SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) – Kennedy Yearby left Bishop Grimes after a stellar high school career with more than 100 goals in 2016. Her athletic career continued at Cornell with different results but plenty of lessons learned.
“Perseverance, a lot of character building,” said Kennedy Yearby. “I definitely have grown a lot from that experience.”
In her time off the field, Kennedy always wanted to make an impact on future generations.
“I’ve always been passionate about the racial inequality that exists, the economic (in)equality that exists,” said Yearby.
Kennedy found a way to get involved while she was at Cornell.
“I ended up just taking a bunch of classes that I found interesting and they ended up being policy and government classes and I fell in love with them,” said Yearby.
“I went to a career panel for social justice and I saw Teach for America. I think it was my spring sophomore year and I was like this is what I want to do.”
Yearby was enrolled by her junior year and upon graduating in May she found her new home with Teach for America Bay Area and moved to Oakland. Her teaching career now had its beginning, although in a way she never could have imagined. It’s all virtual.
“It’s been a very difficult transition for a lot teachers and obviously teaching was gonna be new to me. And now with a pandemic and teaching online, there’s challenges you would have never imagined or thought of,” said Yearby.
Kennedy began teaching her kindergarten class at Madison Park Academy Primary the second week of August. Even though the lessons are over Zoom and it can be hard to get all 14 students on at the same time, her time with her class is invigorating.
“They are adorable and they want to learn and they love school. And that’s so refreshing to hear,” said Yearby.
For Kennedy, the COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a lot of issues that already existed.
“Something that really bothers me is just the inequities that exist in our education system are just exacerbated,” said Yearby.
But the last six months of the pandemic, as well as the fight against racial injustice has proven to her she made the right choice for her path.
“It’s reassured my decision to do Teach for America and to go into policy and minor in equality studies. I think I definitely am more sure if I wasn’t already sure that what I’m doing is important,” said Yearby.
And she is ready to do the work, no matter how long it takes.
“It’s what I have to do. Take it day by day and do my best,” said Yearby.
Kennedy will have two years teaching in Oakland for TFA. She can then decide to continue to teach there or follow another dream. She has considered going to law school to get into more into educational policy.