Youngkent Far From the Average Science Teacher


Jayden Emrich, Contributing Reporter

     The woman at the end of the Linn-Mar science hallway, expresses her nerdiness with stuffed moles on display all around her classroom, and slip on shoes with chemical formulas printed on them. She appears to be the average high school science teacher, but there is far more than what meets the eye with this teacher.

Becky Youngkent takes on many roles, one of them being a mother to two young children, ages three and eight, with a rare disorder known as Adams-Oliver disorder.

“Both of them have been diagnosed with Adams-Oliver syndrome. It is a skeletal disorder that affects some connective tissues, which are the different ligaments and bones and cartilage that connect all of your bones together,” Becky said.

Although both of her children have the disorder, her son Oliver’s case is more severe than his big sister, Darby. Darby’s case affects her left hand and her left foot. Oliver’s affects the very top of his head, his hands and his feet.

“There was about a quarter size part of his skull did not form and then his hand and his feet have been affected but he still has pretty good use of his right hand,” said Becky.

With their son having a more severe case of this rare disorder, doctor visits and physical therapy have become a part of their regular family schedule. Multiple times at doctor appointments, Becky says that she and her husband, Ben, were asked if they named their most recent child after the disorder.

“I did not know the name of that before we named him. I actually had doctors ask if we named him after it, and I was like that is the dumbest thing I have ever heard,” said Youngkent.

Youngkent does not think that being a mother to Oliver and Darby is any different than being a parent to any other kid.

“Yeah he has special needs, but we do not even feel like it’s affecting him,” she said.

Youngkent’s family has had their fair share of hard times and bad news. There was one time in particular that Becky said she remembered as the worst news she’d received.

“When he was born. When they told us that he had that hole in his skull, I knew at that moment that this was not going to be the last of it. I knew there were going to be many more difficult conversations about his care,” said Youngkent, while tending to Oliver. “And then the day they told us he had to have the amputation. That was…. tough,” Youngkent said.

Fear is something most parents go through, but Becky’s fear was different. Tears started streaming down her face when she looked down at Oliver, who was crawling on the floor.

“I am always worried that something is going to happen to him,” said Youngkent.

Despite the hardships Becky has gone through with her family, she remains a positive person who loves her family unconditionally.

“I think if you focus too much on the hard things, it just eats you up. I would say my biggest accomplishment is my family,” said Youngkent.

Not only does Becky take on the role of being a mother, but she is also a Linn-Mar cheer coach. She treasures the new relationships and friendships that come with being a cheer coach.

“I got to form new relationships with kids that I could not have had if I had just been a teacher,” said Youngkent.

Becky used to cheer when she was younger and she says being a high school cheer coach is a way for her to get back into something that she once loved.

“It helped me get back into something I used to enjoy,” said Becky.

But, there was a reason Becky stopped cheerleading in the past.

“I stopped due to some negative experiences. I used to cheer but I quit when I was really young because there was just some horrible people. When this opportunity came along, not only did it help me get back involved with something I used to enjoy doing, but now I can try my best to make sure that other girls don’t have that same experience,” said Becky.

At times it can be hard for Becky to balance her roles of teacher, parent, and coach.

“If my husband was not so great, it would be hard. Especially in the fall, when basketball is basically every night,” said Youngkent.

Youngkent has a cheer side, and a high school teacher side, and thinks that is one thing that sets her apart.

“My students are always surprised that I am a cheer coach, and my cheerleaders are always surprised that I am a Chemistry teacher. It shows that there is more to people than you think,” said Youngkent.

Becky agrees that she could not take on all of these roles without the help of her husband, Ben.

“We met in May of 2006,” said Becky. “I used to be a youth group leader at the church that I grew up at and I got close to his family without even knowing him. So they invited me to their oldest’s (son) graduation party. So I just showed up as a friend of the family and he was there because he was the kid’s cousin,” said Youngkent.

“Yeah, so he thinks it is funny to tell people that we met at a family event,” said Becky.

Favorite color:


Favorite food:

Anything potato related.

Outspoken or Reserved?

“It depends on the situation, honestly I’m both.”

Favorite candy:

Peanut m&ms.

Guilty Pleasure:

“I’ll eat Peanut m&ms and watch horrible Christmas movies and try and shut my family out so I can do  jigsaw puzzles, and that would be a pretty sweet day.”

Best Quality:

“How I relate to people.”

Believe in Love at First Sight?

“No, I think there is much more to someone than the initial attraction.”

What did you want to be when you were older?

“I thought I would be on a boat observing marine life.”

Describe yourself in 3 words:

“Funny, difficult, and sensitive.”

One thing no one knows about you:

“I sing. I don’t sing in class or at cheer but I lose it when I’m driving.”

What three things would you save in a fire?

“If my family was already out, my computer or phone (our family photos), the dogs, and my Birks.”