Ace graduate nets coveted athletics award

Jul 7, 2020

Dartmouth High School graduate Cierra Yim has one more reason to celebrate this summer.

The teenager — who is heading to Clemson University in the fall — was awarded the Massachusetts Interscholastic Athletic Association Student-Athlete of the Month for September 2019 at a small ceremony at her Westport home on July 7. 

Representatives from MIAA handed Yim a plaque with balloons and a medal at a small ceremony attended by her family members, volleyball coach Rachel Lassey, and DHS athletics director Andrew Crisafulli, who nominated her for the award.

“There are 260,000 student-athletes that participate in athletics in Massachusetts,” noted MIAA assistant director Kathleen McSweeney during the award presentation.

She noted that Yim was chosen out of the other student-athletes because of her leadership, athletic excellence, and ability to work with her teammates.

Yim “exemplifies educational athletics with the MIAA,” McSweeney finished. “You are a role model. Congratulations. Best to you in your future endeavors at Clemson.”

After accepting the award, Yim said it meant “everything.”

“I’m grateful for all the coaches and teammates that I’ve been able to play with over the last four years,” she said. “[They’ve] helped me get to where I am today...And I’m very thankful for this award.”

She said she is planning on playing intramural volleyball at Clemson next year, depending on the pandemic situation.

Graduating during the pandemic, she said, was “strange, to say the least.”

“Corona came in, swept away the last, best three months of high school,” she said. “But it’s okay, you make the most of it. And I’m very thankful that at least it didn’t happen during volleyball season!”

Volleyball coach Rachel Lassey said that Yim is the first of her students to win the award.

“For her to be recognized out of all of Massachusetts is a huge accomplishment in itself,” she noted. “She’s been checking all those boxes all the way along, though. Almost every single award she could possibly get, she has received. And she has earned it.” 

“She deserves all this credit,” Lassey added. “And it's just so nice that we were able to do this for her, considering.”

Normally, Lassey said, the awards would be given out at a banquet.

“For MIAA to do this, I appreciate that,” noted Yim’s mom Carol Guimond, adding that she is “so proud” of her daughter.

Guimond said the family moved to Westport from Hawaii in 2015. 

“You’re literally born with a volleyball” in Hawaii, she joked. “So she started late. She started in fifth grade.”

“Considering she’s tiny, this was unexpected,” Guimond added with a laugh. “So this is all on her!”

During her last season at Dartmouth High, Yim was one of just six athletes in the state named to the Under Armor All-American national watch list. 

She reached the 2,000 career assists mark — a “rare milestone” in Massachusetts according to the MIAA website — during the Div. 1 South Quarter Finals match against Hingham last November. 

Academically, Yim maintained a 3.57 GPA in her senior year and participated in the National Honor Society and DECA, a business club that works on leadership and communications skills.

Crisafulli said that Yim is an “outgoing, kind hearted and a hard working individual,” adding that “the volleyball program has benefited from her work ethic and ‘team first’ approach.” 

“It’s a fantastic opportunity to honor one of our model student-athletes,” said Crisafulli at the ceremony.

The MIAA award is presented on a monthly basis to one male and one female student-athlete in grades 9-12 who display excellence in the areas of academics, athletics and community service. Monthly award recipients receive a certificate of recognition, are featured on and are normally honored at the MIAA Awards Recognition Banquet in the spring.