Yvonne Thomas

Tehachapi, CA

University of Southern California

M.A. Teaching, Spring 2016

Yvonne believes that “life is not about waiting for the storm to pass, it is about learning to dance in the rain.” She competed in volleyball, basketball, and track during her freshman year of high school. Running became her passion and she chose track and cross-country as the sports she would concentrate on throughout the remainder of high school and in college. During Yvonne’s freshman year at Bakersfield College, she was awarded a small scholarship based on her efforts and ambition both on the track and in the classroom. During the summer between her freshman and sophomore years of college Yvonne—at the age of 19—was in an auto accident that resulted in paralysis at the T12/L1 level. Although Yvonne is no longer able to run, she retains the spirit of determination and dedication that she cultivated through athletics. These qualities enabled her to get through a few months in the hospital and several months of intense physical therapy. Additionally, Yvonne became more dedicated than ever to her educational pursuits and returned to school after missing only one semester. She went on to graduate with honors from Cal State Bakersfield. Yvonne graduated from the USC Rossier School of Education with a Master’s of Arts in Teaching and a Teaching Credential. She plans to teach within the Los Angeles Unified School District for a few years and then return to school and earn an Ed.D. in Educational Psychology. She hopes to remain engaged in educational research and teach at the college level. Yvonne is very grateful for her wonderful family who has encouraged her and inspired her through the years. She also says that it is a blessing and a privilege to be scholarship recipient and she looks forward to assisting in any capacity that will support Swim With Mike.