Ethan Yankey


Noah Kassell-Yung, Sports Editor

After two years at the Masters School Ethan Yankey will leave, having left a lasting impact on the community. Yankey comes from Dominica, a small island in the Caribbean where the lifestyle could not be more different than that of Westchester. His background has brought a unique perspective to the community and he has shared that perspective with students and faculty alike through passionate speeches at morning meetings, in the classroom, and on the sports field. 

Yankey completed high school and was able to get his associates in building and civil engineering at a community college in Dominica. It was during this time that an opportunity arose through fencing. 

“I was a national athlete for Dominica’s fencing, and what happened was that one of the members in my club got into this program that a father of a student at Masters ran that helped get kids into boarding schools in the United States,” Yankey said. 

Yankey’s friend, in her interview, mentioned that her friend was a star in athletics and academics and suggested that the interviewer give Yankey an interview as well. 

The interview went well and Yankey eventually was able to look at school in America. He looked at over ten schools but was especially drawn to Masters due to the fencing program. 

“I just loved the school, the way it looked, the community, I just loved what they offered, their fencing, and I just felt like that’s the place I wanted to go,” Yankey said. 

Yankey joined Masters his junior year which coincided with the hybrid learning of the 2020/21 school year. Because of the pandemic, he was forced to remain in Dominica and zoom into classes from a school 2,577 miles away. 

“It was very difficult, I got frustrated many times, I felt like quitting many times because things were just so hard. It was a new teaching technique, a new education system, I didn’t have any friends like that, and I was always on my laptop inside,” Yankey said. 

After online classes were over, instead of spending time with friends, Yankey would take a bus into the city and work at his local barber shop, trying to learn how to cut hair and get clients.

Over the summer, Yankey took a prerequisite world history class. The first day of class, the proctor asked everyone to introduce themselves which included their country of current location. Yankey mentioned that he was from Dominica in the Caribbean and a day later he was contacted by the school telling him that there was another student from Masters stuck in Dominica. That student was current junior, Christopher Gatty. 

“At first I was very hesitant because it’s a new person, I don’t know how it’s gonna go, but we met up and had lunch and ever since we clicked,” Yankey said about his relationship with Gatty. 

They were able to spend a lot of time together as Yankey would visit Gatty and go to the beach together. 

“I would say he became a really close friend in just a short period of time. Him being on that same American history class, it’s like winning the lottery. It’s like a one in a lifetime kind of thing to meet someone who’s actually stuck in your own country-a country so small compared to other countries, just 60,000 people in population- who’s going to the same school you go to, that’s crazy to me.” 

Yankey and Gatty’s families also bonded, as a real connection grew between the two boys and their mothers. Stacy Tisdale, Gatty’s mother, volunteered to be Yankey’s host parent when he arrived in the United States.

“To be honest, most of my successes here would not be possible without them, me going to college with [Tisdale] helping me and telling me to put myself out there and break barriers down and push myself, I don’t think I’d be going to college. I’d be taking a flight back home trying to find another job or going back to school so they have not only been leaders of my success but they have given me a new family and a support system.” He continued, “They come to my games, we go out all time, at family gatherings, I’m there, I never miss a beat, I never feel like I have my family 1000s of miles away because anything I need? They’re always there for me.”

When Yankey stepped onto Masters campus, he immediately recognized the amount of opportunities available to him. With talents such as photography, dancing, arts, he embedded himself into as many programs. He was able to join multiple clubs, including SCEEM, MISH, the International Club and many others. On a more personal level, he has shared his knowledge, power, and wisdom with many members in the community. Yankey delivered a passionate speech at a Morning Meeting about his life.

“Speaking at Morning Meeting was very powerful to me because I come from a different world from most that will attend here. I come from a different reality than them and I’ve been through a lot so me sharing that wisdom was very influential,” Yankey said. “I was happy that I could give everyone a sense of who I am, not just this Caribbean kid, but really what made me me what really made my character, what made me resilient.”

His speech was greeted by a standing ovation from the students participating as his message and story seemed to resonate with the larger student body.

Yankey was also a player on the boys varsity soccer team that won the NYSAIS championship in the fall. While he did not play many minutes for the team, his contribution came off the field, on the morale side. For both lacrosse and soccer teams, Yankey was arguably the loudest and most important voice on the field. Whether joking, motivating, or delivering a passionate speech, his energy was infectious. In the winter, Yankey fenced for the varsity team and was one of their captains and highest scorers. Yankey acknowledged that his training back in Dominica was more rigorous as he would fence for four hours on average versus the two hour practices at Masters. Masters has taught him a new perspective on fencing however.

 “Masters really showed me the team dynamic, even though I was a national fencer and I was on the national team, I never felt like I belonged to a team. I always felt like I stood out like I was just a black sheep in my club, but when I came to masters I just felt at home, I felt like I had a team that I could depend on that could also depend on me,” Yankey said.

“The next step for me, I want to go to college and do architecture. I’ve always been in love with architecture and design and just construction as a whole,” Yankey said. 

He dreams to do both projects in the United States and in Dominica where he can give people jobs in construction and motivate children to do something right.

“Masters showed me the real world, I came from a different world, a survival world and Masters showed me a world where you embrace the world, you don’t try to survive it but you embrace the beauty in it.”