February 21, 2016
“Doing what is right and not what is easy” is a philosophy that Mrs. Yancey, a long time teacher at San Clemente High School, not only reflects in her own life, but also inspires her students to live by. As a highlight of her teaching career, Mrs. Yancey was honored by fellow teachers as she won the 2016 Teacher of the Year.
Starting with a graduate’s degree from Cal Poly Pomona in Fashion and Home Economics, Mrs. Yancey began her career as a teacher right here at San Clemente High School in the year 1978. Since then she has taken on a plethora of classes in the arts, including sewing; which she taught for twenty-five years in the same classroom that she calls home today.
Mrs. Yancey is currently heading up the Foods and Child Development programs where she not only cooks meals with her classes for teacher luncheons and senior banquets, but also works closely with the Best Buddy Program so that students can learn how to become leaders and work closely with their peers. Through the Best Buddy program Mrs. Yancey plans stellar holiday parties, including the Christmas banquet, and other amazing events such as Special Olympics, and the Best Buddies Prom in the spring.
Although there is a long list of exceptional programs at San Clemente High that wouldn’t have succeeded without Mrs. Yancey, by far one of the most famous and most well-loved would be the preschool that was run on campus. Taking over a small group of eight small children from her former colleague, Mrs.Yancey grew the San Clemente High School preschool class into that of forty kids between the ages of 3-5 years old. This group of kids was cared for and taught by the students of the original Child Development classes, where valuable skills on how to take care of children were taught as part of the curriculum. This experience inspired many students to want to pursue a career in teaching. Because Mrs. Yancey was the preschool and high school teacher for many students, she built strong relationships with many community families. Some of her students even returned to San Clemente High School to teach alongside her, or to bring their own kids to the preschool they grew up in.
One of the many things that Mrs. Yancey is proud to provide for her students, or anyone on campus is a safe room. According to Mrs. Yancey her safe room is a place “where people can come if they are down and out and they can have lunch in here or a nap on the couch if they need that. It’s been a great home for a lot of young men and women”.
After thirty-seven years of teaching and having a massive impact on many students from many graduating classes, Mrs. Yancey will retire this year at the end of the spring semester after having seen it all “and loving every minute of it”.
You can find her enjoying retirement walking her dog on the new trails, or exploring the outlet mall- because she will always be an icon of fashion. “I love what I do… I’m sad to have to say goodbye to San Clemente High School, but I know I’ll always have the memories of this one town one team community”.