Scout Send Off: Andre Yavetsky

Vivi Hirschfield, Staff Writer

Fate’s a funny thing. It can lead you down a million different paths. If you’re lucky, fate can take you on an adventure you never knew possible. You might even realize your dreams. 

Profe Andre Yavetsky, who will retire this year after 25 years of teaching at LFHS, got lucky when fate brought him to a new language.

His journey started in 1980 when he was admitted to Moscow State Linguistic University after passing four very challenging entrance exams. Living in what was the USSR at the time, he was not given a choice in his career path–he was assigned Spanish. 

“I could have been given any of the Scandinavian, Romance, or Germanic languages,” Profe said.  “But to be honest, I’m glad my fate brought me Spanish because, thanks to this amazing language, my life’s had a lot of happy twists, turns, and incredible experiences.”

The first of these many fateful experiences occurred just five years after he graduated, in 1990. Wielding only his suitcase, $300 in cash, and his guitar, he made the long trip to the United States. His only expertise was in the Spanish language. One day, he was introduced to the Chairperson of the Foreign Languages Department at DePaul University, who just so happened to be a Cuban immigrant. 

He impressed her with his skills in her native language and ended up talking his way into his first job as a college instructor.

“After the first quarter, I already taught two Spanish courses, and in the third quarter, I was offered to teach one more course. It was a great experience, and I began to feel more and more of a passion for teaching. This experience made me pursue a teaching career,” he said.

He continued to teach Spanish at DePaul for two years, and as his fervor for education grew, he knew it was time to start looking for a full-time teaching job. 

In 1992 he became a full-time Spanish teacher for a high school and quickly moved up the rankings to the chairperson of the World Language department, all while teaching night classes at two different colleges. Practice, dedication, late nights, and another twist of fate brought him to his dream job in 1998, here in Lake Forest, where he teaches AP Spanish and Spanish 3 honors.

“Profe is the most passionate teacher I have ever met. He pushes all of his students to challenge and better themselves,” senior AP Spanish student Lizzie Hardy said.

Don’t ever stop learning! Learning new things in life will bring you new experiences, new adventures, and new memories.

— Andre Yavetsky

Just like his life, his classroom can also be found full of twists and turns–you never know exactly what to expect. 

“After sitting through hours of Google meet classes with random questions constantly being asked and fear of incorrectly answering them, I grew to appreciate the teaching style Profe instills,” said senior Jack Rice, an AP student who also had Profe sophomore year. “He demands a level of respect that no student seems to dare challenge, and having this environment makes the class not only fun but less stressful, and you feel like you’re learning something every day. On top of that, his humor adds to the overall experience of being a part of his class and makes learning Spanish even more enjoyable.”

Aside from his dry humor, another major part of Profe’s teaching style is his immersion in real-world Spanish media. Every Friday (assuming homework is done), he turns on a show called ‘El Internado,’ about Spanish teenagers in a boarding school. While it may seem frivolous and against Profe’s strict demeanor to watch TV in class, it shows students how the Spanish language is used among people their age.  It’s all part of the balance that is his classroom.

As Mrs. Shannon Ramirez, who taught briefly taught Spanish 3 Honors alongside Profe, said, “You can really tell how much passion he has for the subject.” 

Mrs. Amanda Homscheid agreed. “He’s the first person I go to with a grammar question or a ‘how would you use this?’ and he always has the right answer.”

Profe says his “journey as a teacher has been a constant learning curve.”

“It was an exciting challenge for me to teach in a different culture, and I can say that during my long teaching career, I learned how to be demanding, challenging, productive, and fun at the same time. I was able to learn alongside my students, and that’s what made for a successful over 30 years of teaching.”

Now as he “graduates” with his last group of seniors, his plans for the future are perfectly unclear. Since the pandemic, he’s realized that the plans he makes can change in the blink of an eye.

“Eventually, we´ll probably end up living in Spain. My wife is from Madrid, and Spain will always occupy a big place in my heart,” he said.

After 25 years at Lake Forest High School, Profe has one takeaway he wants his former and current students to internalize: never, ever stop learning.

“If you are unwilling to learn, no one can help you. If you are determined to learn, no one can stop you. Don’t ever stop learning! Learning new things in life will bring you new experiences, new adventures, and new memories.”