Seeing the opportunities before her, Lara-Fuentes set out to make her high school experience a rich one by staying busy with involvement in numerous activities and student organizations and she also discovered the path to her future.

Osage senior Yamili Lara-Fuentes has never been shy about getting involved. 

Seeing the opportunities before her, Lara-Fuentes set out to make her high school experience a rich one by staying busy with involvement in numerous activities and student organizations and she also discovered the path to her future.  

After obtaining her certification as a nursing assistant (CNA) as a junior at Lake Career Technical Center (LCTC), Lara-Fuentes said numerous doors opened up for her in the medical field including an invitation to the National Youth Leadership Forum on Medicine (NYLF). It was there that she discovered a passion for dentistry and she plans to attend Midwest Technical Institute to obtain certification as a dental hygienist and specialities in orthodontic work. 

But that is not all that has motivated the Osage senior. 

Over the past four years, Lara-Fuentes has lettered in soccer, cheerleading, color guard, band and choir. She has also served as a tutor in Missouri’s A+ Scholarship Program, served on student council and has been involved in other student organizations. 

Those organizations include Big Brother Big Sister; Dude Be Nice which helps create and maintain a culture of inclusivity and kindness at Osage High School; Interact which brings students ages 12 to 18 together to develop leadership skills and make a difference in the community; Health Occupations Students of America (HOSA), Spanish Club and Tribe. 

Along the way, Lara-Fuentes also found some school spirit.

“One of the best memories I have would be cheering at every game. No matter what the outcome was, it was nice being surrounded by people that wanted the same thing as me, which was school spirit,” the senior said, looking back. “As my Senior Night approached during basketball season, I was greeted by my cheerleading team with so much love and appreciation. I teared up and came to realize that I am growing up, moving on to bigger and better things.”

The COVID-19 pandemic may have taken away the final few months from a rich high school experience, but it is that experience that has prepared the senior to tackle any obstacles that may come her way as she pursues her next chapter. 

Q: Was there anything you were looking forward to, especially this spring, as you started to get ready for your final high school season? 

A: Yes! I was looking forward to playing soccer with my other senior ladies! I was looking forward to stepping out on the field with the same three girls since freshman year. As always, doing my pregame team bonding with my teammates. 

Q: Is there anything you love about soccer or anything this pandemic made you realize and what were your thoughts when you found out the season would be significantly delayed and eventually cancelled?  

A: During this pandemic I realized how much I missed being active and social with my teammates. With a heavy heart, I felt a sadness that many other senior girls in our district are feeling during this soccer season. I hope every senior I’ve met from other soccer teams are doing well. I really want to give them a shoutout for shaping me to be the best player I could be these past four years and say sorry for not not seeing each other one more game.  

Q: What has the quarantine been like and were there any steps you took to stay sharp incase there was an opportunity to compete in the future? What was it like to represent Osage, now looking back?

A: From the beginning of the pandemic I was nervous and very anxious to figure out the next cancellation. To keep my mind off the chaos, I kept busy with the workouts that were sent out by our coach. Then I saw the text from Coach (Jason) Long and my heart dropped. All I could think about was how this was my senior year and how it turned for the worst. If I could step out one more time on home field, I would play with my heart in every kick. I would reminisce every memory I’ve had with both my teammates on and off the field. Most importantly, I would dedicate this lat game to one of my fellow friends, Tyler Otto. 

Q: Anything you would like your teammates and coaches to know?

A: To my teammates, thank you so much for all the support you’ve given to us seniors. Always remember to be the player that stands out and takes the lead. I hope none of you have to experience what happened to us. Let this be a lesson to never take anything for granted. I hope every time you step out on the field you leave your best version of yourself. I know practices will beat you up, but trust me you won’t forget the bonds that are created with one another. 

To all my coaches during my high school career, thank you for your time and devotion to make us better. Coach (Angela) Libby, thank you for showing me that having fun is always important during soccer. Coach (Jesse) VanHoose, thank you for the awesome announcement during our games. You taught me how to be vocal on the field. Coach (Danielle) Lutz, thank you for seeing the best in me every day. You made me a better version of myself. Coach (Jonathan) Rembold, thank you for teaching me to stand up for what I believe in, even if it cost us a couple yellow cards. Last but not least, Coach Long, thank you for giving me the best season possible. I’m sorry our time was cut short, but I know you’ll make a big impact in our soccer program.