All About The Kids

July 22, 2016 by  
Filed under Provincial and Territorial News

Yap retires on his terms | St. Catharines Standard

By Bill Potrecz, The Standard

Andrew Yap

Andrew Yap showed up at Laura Secord’s annual athletic banquet last month and received the shock of a lifetime.

Thanks to longtime friend and co-worker Cindy Crosbie, more than 100 former students dropped by to honour Yap, who retired at the end of the school year.

“My whole career flashed before me. It was a great way to finish off my career,” Yap said from his balloon-filled office at the St. Catharines high school. “Those were the people, the students, the ones who made my career and challenged me to be better every day. That was nice to see them all there.

“I didn’t even think she would do something like that, even though we talked in the past that’s how we would want to go out.”

Crosbie, who jokingly describes herself as Yap’s “school wife,” wasn’t going to let the night pass without some type of tribute.

“He was overwhelmed,” said Crosbie, who has worked with Yap for nearly a quarter of a century. “That’s what he’s all about. He’s all about the kids. It’s so natural working with him.”

Crosbie couldn’t say enough about Yap’s legendary work ethic and positive outlook.

“He’s always pushing the kids to be their best and setting good standards,” she said. “He’s a positive role model. He’s always walked the walk and lead by example as far as healthy eating and activity.”

“He’s a firm believer that life is all about choices. Every kid has the ability to do well if they work hard.”

For Yap, all the hard work, all the extra hours put in teaching and coaching, comes down to one thing: his students.

“I believe we have to get these kids ready to be productive citizens out in the real world,” he said. “I’m a big believer some kids need a kick in ass, some need to be handled with kid gloves. Every kid is different.”

“I’ll miss that challenge there.”

Former Secord student Tim Jabs, who is now teaching at the DSBN Academy, was one of Yap’s students from 1998 to 2003.

“He would push you to your limits where you would think you can’t go any further, and then he would push you more,” Jabs said. “As soon as you thought you hit your limit, he would push you to go that extra step.”

“What he can get out of athletes and students is incredible.”

Jabs said Yap has so much to offer.

“He is incredibly knowledgeable and he always says everything in life is an attitude,” Jabs said.

Yap, who was born in Jamaica and came to Canada in 1971, began his teaching/coaching career at South Lincoln High School in Smithville in 1987.

He moved to Laura Secord in 1996 and along the way has taught and coached hundreds of athletes in several sports, although he may be best known for his work in track and field.

“I was brought up with education the No. 1 priority,” Yap said. “I had fantastic role models as teachers to do this, that’s why I got into teaching. I saw how much of a difference they made in my life and the lives of others.”

“It’s like any other job. It has to be a passion for you. You have to have a philosophy. You can’t come in and say ‘I get summers off and this and that and the other thing.’ I’ve never had a summer off. I’ve taught summer school and high school for my first 15 years and then I started by businesses.”

Yap, who will turn 55 this August, has seen many changes in the school system — not all of them for the better he feels — over his nearly 30-year career.

“I am one of the biggest critics in the changes in education just because I don’t think it challenges the kids enough and doesn’t get the parents involved enough,” he said. “Education has taken a backseat in terms of its importance to families.”

“Teachers are asked to be physiologists, social workers. I know the are looking at final results, but I think they got away from the discipline part of things.”

Yap has seen five major curriculum changes in his career.

“It made it more challenging,” he said. “You had to go through the whole change in curriculum before you came in and taught the next year. I had to figure it out and put it in a way that was challenging and motivating.”

Yap can’t believe how quickly the years have flown by.

“Two years ago I knew it was coming,” he said. “A lot of teachers told me when you get into single digits it goes quite quickly.”

“Once you get involved so much the years just fly by. The last 10 years have just been unbelievable.”

Yap may be retiring from teaching, but he has no plans to sit around the house and become a couch potato.

Along with his wife Karina, daughter Taia and son-in-law, Yap runs his own business, Speed Unlimited, a one-stop health care centre.

As well, Yap also has a son, Tai, and two grandchildren to occupy his time.

“It’s wonderful now to be a grandparent and watch my kids raise their kids,” he said. “My family have always had Sundays together. No matter what, I made sure of that. Family is huge for me, even though we don’t see a lot of each other right now.”

When Yap clears out his desk and walks out of Secord for the final time, he can look back on his career with no regrets.

“I’m overwhelmed,” he said. “I’m excited to start a new phase of my life and sad because there’s never a good time to leave. I am at peace now. I wasn’t at beginning of year, I was still humming and hawing.

“Now that I have put it in and thought about it and thought about what is going to happen moving forward, I’m at peace with it.”


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