March 25—To say Cooper, Austin and Sawyer Yim of Newburyport have a great role model to look up to in their older sister would be an understatement.
For many, especially fans of the local volleyball scene, Sydney Yim’s name should already be familiar. A graduate of the Clipper Class of 2021, Yim was a three-time Daily News Volleyball MVP and Moynihan Scholar-Athlete of the Month her senior year who was recruited and took her immense talent to where her mother, Melissa, also graduated from: Purdue University. and once she arrived on campus last fall, she never stopped thriving.
As Purdue (26-7) moved up to the No. 6 team in the nation and made the “Elite 8” in the fall, Yim won the Big Ten’s Most Improved Freshman award. She also made the jump to small-town Massachusetts Division 1 collegiate athletics while pursuing a double major in dietetics and nutrition and fitness with a minor in collaborative leadership.
It’s a lot, that’s for sure. But Yim more than managed to manage.
“Being able to manage my time wisely during the day was super important,” said Sydney, who between coaching, coaching and film reviewing spends about 20 to 25 hours a week playing volleyball. “In a volleyball sense, the adjustment was a dramatic shift to a faster pace and a more mentally and physically rigorous level, which I enjoyed. Being challenged in different areas of athletic ability has definitely been a huge learning experience, but I’m so grateful for the opportunity and support from the coaches and the volleyball team at Purdue.”
It takes a lot to get to Division 1 in any sport.
So, in many ways, Sydney has certainly given her three younger siblings a positive figure to look up to and emulate. So did parents Melissa, head of strategic communications and workforce experience at Deloitte Consulting, and Justin, director of Christian Union ministry at Harvard Law.
“The twins were able to attend some of the official visits I have attended and have seen the culture and the importance of community and education when making decisions about being a varsity athlete,” Sydney said. “I hope I’ve been a role model in many areas of their lives, knowing they’ve been there for everything.”
Twins Austin and Cooper Yim are both freshmen at Newburyport High who are both excellent academics and multi-sport athletes.
Cooper just played football in the fall and is now preparing for baseball season. He’s an honor roll student and mostly taking honors classes, and he’s already applied for a leadership program at Army West Point this summer. While still a few years out of college, he hopes the leadership program will be the first step towards an eventual academic and athletic career at the military academy.
“Even though I can’t play baseball at West Point, it’s still a goal of mine to attend,” Cooper said. “After I graduate I will serve for five years, and after my service (first job) I can choose to go civilian or stay in the military. I don’t know what that would be like because it’s so far away. But , I love the options cadets have academically and as they graduate to apply their character and leadership for the country.”
Austin played on the varsity tennis team as an 8th grader last year and was a Daily News All-Star Honorable Mention. After making the ski team for the first time this winter, he is looking forward to returning to the tennis courts this spring. He too is an honor roll student and seeks to be the next Yim in line to be a Boilermaker.
Austin has already been accepted into a high school engineering program at Purdue this summer. While things could of course change over the next few years, he plans to one day attend Neil Armstrong’s alma mater to pursue a career in aerospace engineering.
“Many scholars who went to Purdue for aerospace engineering, space exploration, civil engineering and other fields have always inspired me,” Austin said. “I have always been interested in space and engineering. So applying to the engineering program would provide me with the opportunity to explore what it is like to build something that could help humanity in a new kind of exploration.”
Finally, the youngest Sawyer is only in fifth grade, but she is already quite the soccer player who plays in Newburyport city leagues as well as Seacoast Club Soccer. She was able to experience a “game day” when she went to watch her older sister play rival Ohio State, and was instantly hooked on Purdue. She even received an autographed soccer ball from Purdue’s women’s team as a Christmas present and hopes to one day become a Boilermaker soccer player herself.
“I look up to my siblings, especially Sydney,” Sawyer said. “I would like to be like Sydney one day and go to Purdue for college and play football there. One thing my siblings taught me is that it’s important to be nice and to give grace. They show it to me and others at school and in sports every day.”
It is clear that each of the Yim children thrives in their own way.
And having someone like their older sister to look up to and follow has only helped them succeed.
“Sydney is not only an amazing sister, but also a friend,” Austin said. “She showed me that I can set high expectations for myself and achieve them. I just need to work hard and surround myself with people who support me. When no one is looking, Sydney is the one who helps others, encourages them and does not attract attention.She believes in teamwork, working as a family and achieving goals together.
Sawyer added: “Sydney is an important role model in my life. Not only because she is my sister, but also because of her values, the way she chooses to live her life and the way she engages and respects others around her in all situations. She is a humble student, a humble athlete and makes her one of my heroines.”