YOAKUM – Jay Quinney knows algebra may not be the most exciting subject.
But during his eight years at Yoakum High School, Quinney tried to keep his students motivated.
“We talked a lot in my class,” Quinney said. “I talked to them and they talked to me and we conversed back and forth quite a bit. I wasn’t the type of teacher who had a quiet class. There were lots of talking and lots of laughter going on.”
Yoakum teacher/administrator Jay Quinney was honored by Texas A&M’s and Yoakum grad Celine Markert @celinem02 through the SEC’s and CFP Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers. pic.twitter.com/PLls2wwvrS— Mike Forman (@mikeforman21) September 19, 2019
Celine Markert was a student in Quinney’s class during her sophomore and senior years, and it impacted her future.
“He was the one teacher at Yoakum who I felt like just really cared about us as students,” Markert said. “I enjoyed his class a lot because it was fun. But he made us work hard and get our stuff done. I learned a lot from it. The way he ran his class is similar to the way I would like to run my class.”
Markert will graduate from Texas A&M, where she was a member of the track and field team in December with a degree in kinesiology.
She is currently doing her student teaching in Goliad and hopes to begin a career in education after receiving her diploma.
“I think just athletics kind of helped me realize I wanted to be a coach, and teaching comes with that,” said Markert, whose father, David, coached her at Yoakum. “I always kind of felt natural at it and then in high school whenever I was able to work with summer track and upwards basketball, I just kind of felt natural at that.”
Markert hasn’t forgotten her experience in high school and has been given the opportunity to reward Quinney and Yoakum by representing Texas A&M and the Southeastern Conference in the College Football Playoff (CFP) Foundation’s Extra Yard for Teachers platform.
Markert will be recognized with a video tribute on Saturday’s SEC Nation pregame show before the Aggies play Auburn at Kyle Field in College Station.
In addition, Yoakum will receive a $10,000 grant from the CFP Foundation and the SEC to use toward the purchase of classroom supplies.
“When one of your ex-students recognizes you for something, it is a great honor,” said Quinney, who is currently the assistant principal at the junior high. “I feel like I was fortunate enough to have her in my class. She was a hard worker. She had great character. She always came in with a smile and did a great job. We had a lot of fun in there, but she would always get her work done and stay on task.”
Markert competed in all five throwing events at A&M, and ranks in the school’s top 12 list in the indoor shot put (No. 3), outdoor shot put (No. 6), hammer (No. 7), discus (No. 8), and weight throw (No. 11).
“I miss it a lot,” Markert said. “I miss the people. I miss the friendships and having to really go into the next step of life. A&M was really awesome for me in terms of athletics and in terms of academics. It prepared me for where I am now. It was just the time of my life.”
Markert is looking forward to becoming a teacher and coach, while cementing her legacy at Yoakum in the process.
“You kind of leave your mark on a school and once you leave, it’s kind of done,” she said. “I think it’s a really neat, awesome opportunity to give something that’s needed.”