Former student athlete returns to Ocean Lakes as teacher, impacts students


Philip Stiles

Pierce informing students (left to right) Alex Cigularov and Matt Escobar on Oct. 5

Before a career in education crossed his mind, 2009 Ocean Lakes graduate Devin Pierce had intentions to become a professional soccer player.

As a well-rounded athlete, Pierce also played varsity football for two years as a kicker. Throughout his high school career, he was recognized as Offensive MVP, varsity soccer Sportsman of the Year, and also received honor roll as well as Principal’s List.

Pierce continued playing soccer at Longwood University where he majored in mathematics and minored in business.

If it was not for his former Algebra/II Trig teacher, Lisa Anderson, Pierce may not be the math teacher he is today.

“I thought it was going to be the death of me, but she simplified it,” said Pierce. “I thought why don’t I become a teacher to have a higher chance of students having a good teacher.”

Today, Pierce is rising high above students’ expectations as a teacher and a coach.

“He’s very patient and worries more about quality over quantity,” said junior goalie Brendan Fritz. “This goes for both his math students and his soccer players.”

Not only did Pierce take the same courses as his students, but he also had the same teachers too.

I can relate to the kids because I’ve been in their shoes before,” said Pierce. “I’m not this almighty teacher, I’m this guy who once sat in that same seat.”

When looking back at his high school days, Pierce recalls himself transforming from the “scared little freshman” to the “big man on campus” his senior year.

Furthermore, he added on that throughout that four-year process, he lost a lot of good friends but in exchange, gained some along the way.

“We all do, but I loved my four years here,” said Pierce in regards to the lost friendships.

He owes his success to Virginia Teachers for Tomorrow, an elective still provided at school. That course is what taught him patience and the necessary requirements to become the great teacher he is today.

“It’s nice to see that his legacy is still continuing to grow at Ocean Lakes not only as a student but as a teacher as well,” said Brendan.