Northland Lifestyle January 2015

Page 14

Terrific Teacher



ary Meyers’ crossroads moment happened at a swimming pool. Meyers started swimming as a kid. After a year, she realized it just wasn’t her thing. Watching diving competitions on television sparked her daredevil curiosity, and she started diving in the seventh grade as a member of the Twisters Diving Team. “Looking back, I can see more clearly now how much of an effect being on the team had on me then,” says Meyers. “When I was younger, I didn’t know what kind of impact diving and being part of the team would mean for me down the road. Now I understand how important it is to have a passion and a focus, and a group of people who understand and motivate me.” After growing up in Liberty, Meyers went on to college at University of Central Missouri. She always knew she wanted to be a teacher, she says, and spent her first year of her career teaching sixth grade in 14

Northland Lifestyle | January 2015

Belton. Now Meyers teaches kindergarten at Chapel Hill Elementary. “I’ve always known that I wanted to teach in elementary school,” she says. “I’ve never wanted to do anything else, and I’m lucky that I’ve been able to turn my dream into my career.” Meyers continued as a diving coach for Twisters when she returned to the area after college, and took over the team when the then-owner, and her former coach, decided to retire. “The choice was either to not step up, and see the team end, or step up and create something for kids like I had when I was younger and just starting,” says Meyers. She chose to step up, and now coaches alongside Hyon Cho and Bryce Reid. Competitive diving is gaining ground as a respected sport, says Meyers. The Twisters is currently the only team in the Northland; there are two other teams in the greater Kansas City area. The Twisters

welcomes students aged five to 18, and offers lessons year round. “We’re here for all ages of kids and all skill levels,” says Meyers. “What’s really great is that the group is so close. They suggest things to do together outside the pool, like pizza parties, and they stay in touch after they move on to college. We’re a family. As a teacher, I’m always thinking about what I can do, and how I can make an impact on kids that will last for a lifetime, not just when they’re in my classroom. It’s the same with the team; no matter what their skill level, each student is developing skills that will benefit them later in life. Just by being part of the team, they learn things like social interaction, sportsmanship, focus and working to achieve a goal,” says Meyers. Even though diving is a competitive sport, Meyers says that team members are more friends than competitors. “The group dynamics are such that everyone is competing with themselves, not each other,” says Meyers. “The team wants to succeed as a whole, and the students want each other to do well.” The Twisters is a nonprofit, which means that all money, whether from fees or donations, goes back to the team. Funds are used to pay for travel, pool rent, coaching and other elements that sustain the operation. “For the coaches, this is a hobby. It’s where we come after our day jobs, because we love the kids and we love what happens in and out of the pool when we’re together. I’m so lucky to have these kids,” says Meyers. “They are dynamic and dedicated, and they teach me as much as I teach them.” To learn more about The Twisters Diving Team, visit

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