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In the Process: Yarbrough builds toward victory

Carmen Yarbrough, McIntosh High family and consumer sciences teacher and Chiefettes dance team coach, loves instilling students with the building blocks for success.

In the classroom, Yarbrough leads the nutrition and food science pathway. They cover everything about nutrition. It’s about knowledge so you know what you’re putting in your body.

“It’s life skills,” said Yarbrough. “It’s not to tell you what you should and should not eat.”

By leading the nutrition pathway, she often gets to work with a student for multiple years.

“That’s what makes teaching fun is having those connections and being able to see kids grow.”

Yarbrough started dancing at age 5, and it became a lifelong passion. She loved going every week to work in a studio, then transitioned to her high school’s dance team. That even led into a year competing for her college.

“Dance has always been a part of my life.”

It all clicked once she took over the Chiefettes. She didn’t plan to become a coach, but she always loved dance and she jumped at the chance to lead a team.

“I love dancing. I love watching dancing. I love the competitive aspect of it,” she said. “I realized that I really liked being around that age group, and it was so much fun. It felt rewarding.”

When the team is really clicking, they look like a well-oiled machine. It requires each dancer to hold themselves accountable because how they perform affects the whole team.

“It takes a very long time and a lot of hard work to get to that point,” she said. “At the end of the day, for a dance team that is the goal. No matter how many kids you have on the floor, you want to all look like you’re dancing as one.”

The Chiefettes were one this year, winning their second state championship in a row.

“It’s really kind of surreal that we won two years in a row,” said Yarbrough. “Our team of athletes took that by the reins and used that as their fuel and their motivation for this year.”

The most important pieces come long before the team hits the mat at a competition. There is beauty in the process of building and bonding.

“That is where championships are won,” she said. “You have to remember everything we do along the way and that’s the why.”

Big wins are great, but those aren’t the successes that matter most to Yarbrough. In the classroom or in competition, the thrill comes from the growth of others.

“There is nothing more gratifying than knowing that you have a position and a role in a young adult’s life where you can give them an outlet to express their creativity, develop a passion, set a goal, have accountability, and you’re there to help them achieve that and help push them to be where they want to be.”


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Posted 3/5/2024