Hillsboro teacher’s passion is making an impact
As a middle school teacher, connecting with his community means more than anything for David Yabu.
Yabu, 32, has taught seventh and eighth graders since 2014. After graduating with a master’s degree in teaching from Willamette University, Yabu was hired at Evergreen Middle School in the Hillsboro School District and “fell in love with the school and community.”
At Evergreen, he teaches several subjects, including AVID — a program that prepares first-generation college students for higher education.
Yabu said the class is just one way he can impact students’ lives.
“It allows me to work with some of those students that maybe don’t have the same opportunities,” Yabu said. “It’s more like letting them see what options they have and their potential.”
Yabu explained how he enjoys working with students to “plant the seed” for their future success. He said a huge part of his work is showing students the different choices they have beyond a set path.
“It is pretty special to see them kind of grow into adults and see what they’ve done and accomplished,” Yabu said.
In addition to teaching, Yabu also connects with students on the lacrosse field as a coach for Glencoe High School’s varsity team. Yabu played lacrosse in high school and became involved in the middle school and youth programs after he started teaching.
“I try and get to know my students as best I can, and part of that is letting them get to know me,” Yabu said. “The sport gave me a ton in my life and taught me so many things that I was like, ‘yeah, I’ll pay it forward.’”
Though Yabu eventually found his passion in teaching, he did not initially gravitate toward the career.
While pursuing a bachelor’s degree in sociology at the University of Oregon, Yabu worked at Gales Creek Camp, a summer camp for children with Type 1 diabetes.
“When I was out there, just playing and having fun, I also kind of realized that it’s really cool to work with young people,” Yabu said.
Yabu said a close friend who also worked at the camp encouraged him to become a teacher, and from there, Yabu decided to forge his path to connect with kids at the educational level.
Yabu continues to work at the camp as a director during summers, helping foster inclusivity and creating connections for campers.
“We want every kid with Type 1 diabetes to be able to go to the camp because we think it’s so powerful,” Yabu said.
Yabu credits the people around him for instilling his values and getting him to where he is.
“I’ve been super lucky in my life,” Yabu said. “I think I’m a product of the people in my life. I try and take the best of the people around me.”
For Yabu, consistently doing your best and being there for others makes the biggest difference.
As he continues mentoring young people as a teacher, coach and camp director, he hopes to leave them with a strong sense of values.
“There’s something to be said for just trying to do your best consistently,” Yabu said. “We’re just trying to do the best thing we can for other people because that type of service — that type of work — is the stuff that I think is truly rewarding.”