Kennady Schneider wakes up daily at the crack of dawn and usually doesn’t hit the hay until the next day.
Schneider, a junior at Green Valley High School and an elite gymnast, has a pretty busy schedule. She starts her mornings with advanced placement classes at the Henderson school. Schneider’s favorite class is photography, which has been her passion since she received a green digital camera for her 10th birthday.
After school, she drives straight to Gymcats, her gymnastics gym, and practices between four and five hours daily.
During equipment setup at the gym, Schneider usually talks to her fellow gymnasts about team-bonding activities such as flag football and a sledding trip. The gymnasts have developed a close bond, thanks to the time spent in the gym together and on the road during meets. Occasionally, the girls will stop their practice to cheer on their teammates, especially when they are learning a new or difficult skill.
All of the dedication Schneider puts into her schoolwork and gymnastics has paid off. After a major tournament in which she finished in second place on bars and fourth in the all-around category, Schneider was then offered a full scholarship to her dream school, the University of Arizona. Although she said it was a difficult decision to commit to the University of Arizona as a sophomore, she “couldn’t be happier.”
Now as a junior, Schneider feels relieved she is starting her third season as a level 10 gymnast and has the security of knowing what her immediate future holds. Even though it’s a time-consuming sport, Schneider still enjoys gymnastics.
“It’s all longevity in the sport,” she said. “You can be talented, but if you don’t love it much, it’s easy to just quit because it requires so much of your time.”
Schneider says she couldn’t have gotten where she is without her team’s support.
“Our team is really close, not just because we are always together in the gym but because we are all really good friends,” said teammate Jennifer Leslie.
When Schneider arrives at the University of Arizona, she wants to be a role model for young gymnasts, since many college gymnasts were once her role models. She plans to major in journalism and photography at Arizona.