Yahaira Lopez considers her students as part of her family.
When Yahaira Lopez was young, she and her cousins would always play pretend "school," and her cousins would always choose her to play the part of the teacher in the game.
"They would always tell me how smart and caring I was," Lopez said in a statement. "With that, I always had a passion to continue learning and growing."
Lopez is a product of Volusia County schools. After graduating from Atlantic High School in 2004, she moved to Tampa to attend the University of South Florida where she studied elementary education and received her bachelor's degree in May 2009. She began her
teaching career later that year in Plant City, where she taught third grade until she moved back to Volusia County in 2014 to be close to her large family.
Now, she teaches fourth grade at Osceola Elementary. Lopez said she is grateful for the opportunity past principal Mary Speidel gave her to work here. She said she continues to work with a great team of faculty, staff and administration.
"They help to inspire me to be better each and every day for my students and together we work as a team to do what is best for our students because at Osceola we’re not here to be average," Lopez said. "We’re here to be awesome."
Family is what inspired Lopez to become a teacher, along with several inspiring educators who influenced her life. Lopez said she loves waking up every morning to see the smiles on her students' faces. They become her "family" during the school day, she said.
"My students are my inspiration every day to continue learning and growing to be better for them and generations to come," Lopez said. "My hope is that I instill the passion for learning and growing in all the students that become my family throughout the years."