Isabella “Bella” Yoder grew up in Lindale, Texas, with two older sisters that participated in rodeo. Yoder, however, followed her passion for competitive cheerleading. When her childhood gym closed, Yoder discovered her new home in FFA.
“What I was used to was really big bows and red lipstick,” said Yoder. “But what I really love about FFA is that there is a spot for everyone.”
With the support of her older sister, Katie, Yoder transitioned from competitive cheer to finding her place within the Lindale FFA chapter her sophomore year. Yoder’s drive to succeed led her to consider running for FFA state office, but Katie passed away on March 8, 2020, at age 22.
“Something that my older sister, Katie, and I shared was the love of agriculture,” Yoder said. “Since Katie was also in FFA, she took me under her wing.”
After much consideration, Yoder decided to continue in her path to be a state officer. She was elected as the 2020 state vice president for the Area 6 FFA Association.
“I just felt this calling from the Lord [God] and others around me,” said Yoder. “I listened and I am so glad that I did looking back.”
Jeremiah Neal was a previous state FFA officer who knew Yoder.
“I am so thankful that I continue to live in anticipation and followed what the Lord [God] had for me and made the decision to come to Tech to be a name and not just a number.”Isabella Yoder
“When I think of Bella, I think of someone who isn’t afraid to go out and embrace all of the new things that the world has to offer,” Neal said.
As Yoder traveled across the state serving as a state officer, she often found peace when she saw her sister within the eyes of young FFA members.
“Sometimes we had to remind ourselves why we were even here,” said Yoder. “Then I would listen to the stories that the members were telling me, and I would think to myself ‘man, Katie would freak out if I gave her a phone call right now,’ and that is my reason.”
Yoder decided to come to Texas Tech University in the fall of 2020. She now counts it a blessing to cheer on the Texas Tech All-Girl Cheer team, while pursuing a degree in animal science through the Davis College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources.
“I am so thankful that I continue to live in anticipation and followed what the Lord [God] had for me and made the decision to come to Tech to be a name and not just a number,” Yoder said.