Linebacker leans to education

Photo by DJ Johnson
Math teacher Tiara Pettis joins the Webster Groves st after six years of teaching at Hazelwood Central.

DJ Johnson

Tiara Pettis was a middle linebacker for the St. Louis Slam but now teaches math at WGHS.

Pettis started playing football after she came home from Truman University.

“I played for five years,” Pettis said. “This year, this 2012 season is the first season that I didn’t play.”

Pettis has earned four awards including Defensive Player of the Year and being invited to play in the All Star Game two years in a row.

About whether she would play football again, she said, “I would love to return to the game. I’ve given it thought, but I haven’t made my final decision on if I will play again.”

Pettis’ journey started at Parkway West High School, where she earned a 4.1 GPA. She liked football, but it never crossed her mind to play on the men’s football team.

Instead, Pettis played softball and basketball while being involved in her community.

“I tutored, did fundraising and pretty much anything to help the community,” said Pettis.

At 15, Pettis got her first job, refereeing games from ages of five to adulthood.

“Being able to boss around the bigger kids was fun, but being able to tell the adults what they could and couldn’t do, made the job better than what it was,” Pettis said.

Pettis received a full ride to Florida A&M before transferring to Truman College.

Pettis is the fourth of five children in her family of seven.

“My father is Muslim; my mother is Christian, yet they never really had any fights or disagreements. They agreed on the same things often.”

About the children’s religion, Pettis said, “When it came to choosing the religion of the children, they left it all up to us.” Although Pettis’s parents were religous, she does not have a specific group that she belongs to.

As a girl, Pettis knew what she wanted to be as an adult. “I knew I wanted to be either a doctor or a teacher. I couldn’t deal with the pressure of someone dying, and it’s my fault, so I took the teacher route.”

Pettis taught at Hazelwood Central High School for six years. Then a place in the math department at WGHS opened, and Pettis took it.

“I think everything I’ve been through can describe me: but the main things that stick with people that I meet are how honest and open my personality is,” Pettis said.

Leave a Reply