Lourdes Academy Alumni Spotlight – Sierra Yelverton
With more than half of her junior year at Father Lopez Catholic High School behind her, Sierra Yelverton has a goal in front of her – attend the University of Alabama and work towards becoming an orthopedic physician. An injury playing the sport she loves, volleyball, introduced her to the possible career, but it’s her foundational education and persistence that will get her there.
Sierra began as a student at Lourdes Academy - a 4-year-old in Voluntary Pre-Kindergarten (VPK). She went on to become the Student Government President in eighth grade and win the Catholic Diocese Athlete of the Year award for playing basketball and volleyball with the Catholic Youth Sports League. While the awards and accomplishments are nice, it’s what’s behind them that Sierra remembers most.
“I wasn’t the best athlete, so I think the Athlete of the Year award was more about stepping up to help fellow students,” says Yelverton. “When we didn’t have a junior varsity volleyball coach, I volunteered to lead the team. I was in 7th grade. We won several games, but the most important thing is that we had so much fun.”
Her education at Lourdes Academy came from the people she calls “teacher-parents.” These are what most students call teachers, but to Sierra, they became extended family to facilitate learning and help with life issues. Sierra found a way to give back.
“My math teacher, Mr. Potter, lost his cat one year,” explained Sierra. “He kept talking about wanting to get another cat but never did. My English teacher and I got together and got him a new cat. I loved seeing the glow on his face when we gave it to him.”
Other memories go beyond tests and homework and are very personal. Sierra recalls making a paper chain with all the students at Lourdes Academy in remembrance of a fellow student who lost his life during Hurricane Matthew.
“Lourdes gave me something that no other school could have – a deeper connection to faith, students, teachers and family.
It’s deeper than just going to school, learning and living,” remembers Sierra. "Lourdes doesn’t only prepare you academically, but emotionally too. I feel like I have received the gift of love at Lourdes Academy and Father Lopez.”