In honor of Valentine's Day, we're sharing the story of how TFA - San Diego Executive Director, David Lopez, and his wife, Sarah Hargis Lopez, met during their time in the corps
February 10, 2017
It’s no surprise so many of our corps members find true love within the Teach For America community. After all, sharing the same passion and drive in helping fight educational inequity is pretty solid common ground.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, we sat down with Sarah Hargis Lopez and learned how she and TFA - San Diego Executive Director, David Lopez, found love through Teach For America.
Q: How did you meet?
Sarah: We met in the summer of 2010 in a session at institute in Houston. During the session, I volunteered to act out a scene in front of the class with the facilitator who was wanting to role play how we as first-year teachers should give feedback to school partners in a humble way. At the end of the class as we were all filing out, David caught me and introduced himself, saying he wanted to compliment me on a job well-done! Later that day, I saw him again in the cafeteria and he invited me to go out Salsa dancing with him and his group of CM friends. I happily accepted, but when I went back to my room I panicked that I hadn't packed anything dressy enough for a salsa club! Thankfully all the other corps members in the group just had teacher-looking clothes too, LOL.
Q: What is your favorite thing about David?
Sarah: His perseverance and ability to stay focused on what's most important amidst chaos. I constantly struggle with allowing my attention and energy to get diverted by outside factors and environments and I can easily allow myself to get off track and become discouraged . David's deep sense of purpose and strength keeps him anchored through many of life's struggles. Having his constant example in my life truly makes me a better person!
Q: How did your TFA experience bring you closer together?
Sarah: Surprisingly enough, I actually had a pretty miserable experience in the corps. I wanted to quit just about every day once I got into my classroom. I was a 2nd grade teacher in San Antonio Unified School District's lowest performing elementary school and I was in over my head with the behavior disorders and developmental delays that my students suffered from. Like many people who join TFA, I was very used to excelling at anything I set my mind to and it was a major hit to my sense of self when I couldn't get ahead despite all of the hours and energy that I poured into my students success. I closed out a lot of people in my life during that time, but David was like a rock for me and I allowed him to be one of the few people that I kept in constant contact with. It was during that time that David reminded me that even though I wasn't feeling the level of success that I was accustomed to, my sacrifice alone was the only indicator of success that I needed to focus on. This was when he coined his popular phrase, "sacrifice is success", and it became my mantra. We ended many phone calls and text messages with that mantra and it truly helped me make it to the end of my 2nd year. I came to realize that if David could help me find myself again through the worst challenge in my life thus far at that time, that I would want to go through all of life's challenges together with him.
Q: Share your favorite TFA + David memory.
Sarah: One time during institute, after another night of salsa dancing with our group of CM friends, David and I decided to take a long walk back to the dorms on our own. When we stopped at a cross walk, David turned in front of me, dipped me, and kissed me right there on the crosswalk corner! At that same moment, a car full of CMs drove past us honking and screaming out hoorays. I was so mortified at the time but couldn't be mad at him, LOL.
Q: What is your advice to new corps member couples?
Sarah: As much as you'll be tempted to spend your free time just with your partner during the corps, don't turn down opportunities to strike up new friendships with your fellow corps members! Go out to the happy hours, go to the house parties, and while they will of course let you bring your SO along, be mindful that you're not bringing them with you to everything! You need to have quality time with your fellow corps members to just connect and commiserate together. Although it feels like an eternity (believe me, I remember the feeling), you only have two years with this unique powerhouse corps, but you'll always be able to pursue your relationship with your SO. Don't let your new found love overshadow the once-in-a-lifetime experience that being in the corps is!