Setting the Bar High

Girl on balance beam.
Grace Schwaegerle competes on balance beam.


Aim High Soar Higher.  This phrase, one of our St. Thomas Aquinas mottos, evolved from watching our students set their personal bars high and then witnessing them soar over their goals. Their ability to far surpass even their greatest expectations comes from their personal fortitude but also from the supportive nature of the STA faculty and staffing community who believe in the potential of every student.

Two students recently raised the bar for young gymnasts everywhere when they competed successfully in the 18th Annual Lady Luck Gymnastics Invitational in Las Vegas, Nevada. As members of Portsmouth’s Atlantic Gymnasts Training Center, Francesca Toracinta ‘20 and Grace Schwaegerle ’21 traveled to compete among more than 1800 athletes representing 60 teams from across the United States. 

With tremendous skill and obvious dedication, Grace and Francesca both walked away from the event with deserved recognition. Grace placed fourth in her level’s all-around placing third on bars and floor exercise, fifth on vault and seventh on beam.  Francesca secured third in the all-around for Team Atlantic with a second-place beam performance, fourth place on bars and floor exercise, and sixth place on vault.

For most adolescents, strength and determination are used to rise from bed and make it school on time. These two young women have once again vaulted over stereotypes and demonstrated that, with time, effort and continual practice, young people can shatter conventional perceptions and soar to the sky.