From high-school dropout to All-USA Academic Team: David Yama makes South Seattle College history

For the first time, South Seattle College (WSB sponsor) has a student on the All-USA Academic Team. Here’s the announcement:

South Seattle College student David Yama was named as one of the top scholars in the nation by earning a spot on the All-USA Academic team, as announced by the National Honor Society, Phi Theta Kappa, today. Yama is the first student in South’s history to earn this honor.

The All-USA academic team is widely recognized as the most prestigious academic honor for students attending community college. Nominees are hand-selected by college presidents or their designated nominator for demonstrating academic rigor, leadership and civic growth.

Yama attended the national celebration today of the top-20 All-USA Scholars, where he was further honored as the sole recipient of PTK’s Pierce Scholarship. Along with receiving financial support through the award, he was selected to speak on behalf of all 20 students during the celebration. … Earlier this year Yama was named Washington State’s New Century Scholar, which is given to the top-ranked scholar on the All-Washington Academic team. In the last four years, South has produced two of Washington’s top-scholars from this team.

After dropping out of high school at the age of 14, and working a series of what Yama called “dead-end jobs,” his academic career started at South in hopes of earning his GED. With the encouragment of South faculty member Jane Harness, Yama’s confidence and aspirations continued to grow. He will graduate this spring with an associate degree while maintaining a 3.96 GPA.

Much of Yama’s success he credits to South’s faculty and staff. In addition to Harness, he specifically mentioned instructors Rochelle Fontoi, Bob Dela-Cruz, and Jake Ashcraft.

“South has the most helpful faculty and staff anywhere, with so many opportunities!” Yama said.

After graduation, Yama’s academic journey will continue at the University of Washington, where he is currently volunteering up to 30 hours a week conducting lab research, and he ultimately hopes to earn a doctorate.

You might recall that Yama was a speaker at January’s “Gifts From The Earth” fundraiser at SSC.

9 Replies to "From high-school dropout to All-USA Academic Team: David Yama makes South Seattle College history"

  • West Seattle Hipster April 20, 2015 (8:51 pm)

    Way to go Mr. Yama!

  • Mike April 20, 2015 (8:55 pm)

    That’s awesome. Good to see a story like this. Congrats Mr. Yama, you earned it. I hope he is an inspiration to more people. Really cool to see this.

  • Jason April 20, 2015 (9:07 pm)

    Great story!

  • alki resident April 20, 2015 (9:07 pm)

    This is more proof that it takes a village. Awesome ,way to go Mr. Yama.

  • 617PSC April 20, 2015 (9:30 pm)

    Great achievement, fantastic school, and a phenomenal staff! Way to go, Mr. Yama! Success breeds success.

  • onion April 20, 2015 (9:35 pm)

    Continue to grow and move forward, sir. Congratulations and best wishes.

  • evergreen April 20, 2015 (11:26 pm)

    You are an inspiration to so many. Keep up the hard work.

  • WSince86 April 21, 2015 (9:07 pm)

    Sincerest congratulations on this amazing accomplishment! What a great example you are to those that may find themselves in a similar situation as you did when you were 14. Life truly is all about the choices we make.

  • Impressed by his success! April 22, 2015 (5:58 am)

    What a great inspiring story! Good luck to him in his studies. A special shout out to all those who have helped him in achieving his goals! Standing ovation!

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