Jen Schaer reflects back on rewarding dozen years

posted on May 21, 2012

Outgoing athletic director Jennifer Schaer has worn many hats during her tenure at Red Cloud.

In addition to being AD for twelve straight years, she has coached volleyball (three years), cheerleading (five years), and has taught 9th and 10th grade physical education and health classes. Schaer has also been the primary Red Cloud mentor for the Pathways to Success program for the past three summers.

Schaer received her undergraduate degree from Chadron State College in 1997, and her Master’s from there in 2002. She began working at Red Cloud in August of 2000, after a stint at Crazy Horse School in Wanblee.

When asked about moments and events that most stand out in her mind from her time at Red Cloud, Schaer says there are too many to name. She does provide a few examples, however: the year (2001) when the girls’ basketball team went to the state tournament with only eight girls on the squad, the year (2009) when the boys’ golf team won the regional tournament and were runners-up at the state tournament, the two back-to-back years (2008 & 2009) when the boys’ basketball team finally beat St. Thomas More to go to the state tournament, and various summer trips to Washington, DC with students.

“All of the trips and times I have had with the kids are memorable,” says Schaer.

When ask what is one of the biggest changes she has seen in her time at Red Cloud, Schaer had this to say:

“I think one of the big changes is that Red Cloud is known across the state for not only athletics but also academics. Our students are pushed daily to perform in the classroom and have the knowledge that they need to go on after high school, whether it be to the military, trade school, junior college, or to a university. I have seen the respect level for Red Cloud change on the playing field/court when we go to events and people in other communities and other parts of the state ask me how are graduates are doing and what they are up to.”

Schaer says that by far the best part of her job is the kids; being able to interact with the students on a daily basis and really getting to know them. She says, “I have also seen many students go to college, and have kept the open door policy to them as they continue their education. I have watched many students be successful in their own lives and start their own families. And many former students have become personal friends.”

One of the greatest expression of this type of relationship to Schaer was being adopted as a hunka mother to a former student. This is one of the highest honors in the Lakota culture. As she prepares to move on to a new position, Schaer finds herself doing a great deal of reflecting, both on her position and her students:

“I will truly treasure all of the friends that I have made at Red Cloud, in the community and across the state. The past twelve years are full of memories that cannot be replaced. And to the students I want to say: Don't ever, ever, ever give up on your dreams. You can do anything that you want to - believe in yourself and make it happen.”