Portrait of a St. Thomas Aquinas Graduate
Each St. Thomas Aquinas Graduate possesses the skills, attributes, and virtues to achieve lifelong success in the 21st Century.
Superiorly prepared for college and beyond, our graduates advance into their communities informed, cultured, and rich in character. In effect, they are highly prepared to acknowledge and achieve greatness in both their personal and professional lives.
STA sends each graduate into the next stage of his/her life with a knowledge palette upon which is arranged an array of subjects, languages, digitial fluencies, and artistic appreciation.
Fully equipped, our graduates enter the world ready to color it with texture and kindness.
They are once and always... Saints.
Rachel Schneider, '09
Rachel Schneider, ’09: Runner for Under Armour, Olympic Qualifier, Georgetown University Alumna,
At the end of July, 2019, Rachel Schneider of STA’s Class of 2009, earned 4th place in the National Track and Field Championships. She will move on to compete as a member of Team USA at this year’s World Championships in Doha, Qatar.
In October, 2016, Rachel shared with STA some of her reflections on running, Olympic goals, and her perspective on life’s triumphs and disappointments.
It has been a little over three months since the USA Track & Field Olympic Trials and I still have difficulty putting the experience into words. In one way, it was a dream come true - getting to compete against the very best in the country for a chance to represent the USA at the highest stage in the world and forever be called an Olympian. The stands at Historic Hayward Field were filled, creating the most electric atmosphere. And my personal support crew in Oregon was unreal! I had my coach, my Under Armour team, and family and friends that traveled from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, New York, DC, Texas, California, and Oregon! Plus countless messages of support from people from all parts of my life and all around the country. The feeling of competing on that stage and the positive messages from so many really was ineffable.
On the other hand, after falling in the prelim and making it into the semis on time, I fell short of making the final by one position. After placing 5th at the 2015 USA Track & Field Championships and missing making the World Championship team by 0.01 seconds, I had high hopes and the goal of making the Olympic Team this year. But sports, and life, are filled with both triumphs and disappointments. And while the disappointments are never fun, there is always so much to learn from them. Fortunately, I am still young in the sport (the three women who represented the USA in the 1500m at the Olympics were ages 29, 30, and 32. At the 2020 Olympic Trials I will be 28 and turning 29 shortly after). Running in the Trials, and watching some of my friends compete in the Olympics, only increased my passion for the sport. I know I have a lot of room for improvement - and that excites and motivates me more than anything.
After spending the majority of the last seven years in Washington DC, I've recently moved out to Flagstaff, Arizona where I'll be training up in the mountains at altitude! I have done a few altitude training camps here in the past, and absolutely love the environment and people here. When my coach accepted a job in Flagstaff, I was thrilled that our base would be moved out here. For the foreseeable future I will be living and training in Flag, and hopefully continue to compete around the country and world - lowering my personal records and trying to be the best runner I can be. I would love to be lining up at the World Championships and Olympics in upcoming years, and will definitely be working towards it, but right now (and always) I want to focus on and enjoy the present!
I feel extremely lucky/blessed to get to do what I love every day with the phenomenal support of my family, friends, coach, Under Armour, STA, and Georgetown. I definitely wouldn't be here without the positive impact of so many. So THANK YOU for being a part of my journey, STA! Wishing everyone in the STA community the absolute best on all their endeavors! :)
Jessica Adam, '02
Senior Animal Care Specialist, San Antonio Zoo
"I played soccer and participated in track & field events when I attended St. Thomas Aquinas. I tell my colleagues all the time that I can catch birds as well as I do because of my soccer-catching abilities at STA. And I can throw items out of a moat as far as I can because of my shot put and discus training at STA!"
Jessica has been part of the San Antonio zoo team for 11 years, working in a job she dreamed of since she was a little girl.
“One of my earliest memories is of watching a keeper at the London Zoo drag meat around an enclosure, then hang it in a tree. Then a tiger was released to find the meat. It was so cool. And I said, ‘I want to be the person who puts the chunk of meat in there!’ And I never stopped wanting to work with animals.”
Jessica remembers her STA school counselors being unsure of which direction she was headed. “They were trying to help you be what you want to be, and I say, I want to work with tigers. ‘Huh?’ If I’d said chemical engineering, like my dad, they could have helped me. But zookeeper? ‘Zoology?’ No, zookeeper.” Luckily, she found a program called Zoo Animal Technology at the State University of New York at Oswego and was accepted.
Considering that she landed a job doing what she loves in a field that’s not easy to break into, Adam clearly followed the right path. She joined the aviculture team, working with birds, at San Antonio Zoo straight out of college. At the time, the zoo had the third largest collection of birds in the country, “but my heart has always been with mammals,” she explains. She now works with some of the zoo’s stars, like the new rhinos, the giraffes and the family of lions. Adam is responsible for husbandry training with Cosmo, one of the zoo’s giraffes, and with Sarabi, the zoo’s lioness.
Jessica is living proof that a St. Thomas Aquinas High School education prepared her well not only for her collegiate studies but in developing her mind to believe in herself, her goals, and her dreams.