Schyler Jones (BS '18)
Passion and focus helped Schyler Jones lead the TWU gymnastics team to back-to-back national championships in 2017 and 2018. Chances are pretty good those two personality traits will play a major role as she pursues a longtime dream of becoming a teacher.
“I’m excited to get to work with kids and watch them learn and grow,” says Jones, who wrapped up a stellar collegiate gymnastics career last spring, then graduated from TWU in December with a bachelor’s degree in elementary education.
While helping the Pioneers win the second of two USA Gymnastics national championships, Jones tied a TWU record by earning individual first place honors in all-around competition and in the vault, beam and floor exercises.
Winning the four individual titles was a feat that hadn’t been accomplished by a TWU gymnast since 1999, and it marked the first time since 2012 that any gymnast won four individual honors in the USA Gymnastics national championship event. Additionally, USA Gymnastics recognized Jones as the Outstanding Senior Athlete of the Year.
Gymnastics presented challenges every day for me, but I set goals and worked hard to reach them. Instead of looking at them as challenges, I looked at them as opportunities to get better.
Exceptional performances such as the one Jones engineered in the national championship event require extraordinary preparation. She began training as a gymnast when she was only 3 years old, following in the steps of older sister, Spencer, who also competed as a gymnast at TWU three years before Schyler joined the team. The two were TWU teammates for one year.
Growing up in the tiny North Texas hamlet of Pilot Point, Jones was intent on succeeding as a gymnast. As she developed her skills, her training schedule increased to 20 hours of practice a week by the time she got to college.
At the height of her training, a typical day for Jones went something like this: Wake up at 5:30 a.m.; conditioning and weight training from 6-8 a.m.; classes from 8 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; gymnastics practice from 1-5 p.m.; then dinner and homework before bed at 10 p.m.
“Gymnastics presented challenges every day for me, but I set goals and worked hard to reach them,” Jones says. “Instead of looking at them as challenges, I looked at them as opportunities to get better.”
Although there was little time for socializing, Jones said she and her teammates often volunteered in the community, interacting with the elderly at nursing homes, holding fundraisers for charities and volunteering to teach children at her church. Among her fondest TWU memories is sipping coffee with friends and lounging in the hammocks near TWU’s Fitness and Recreation Center.
I always had great professors who had passion, and I believe they instilled that same desire in me – I couldn’t have asked for a better four years than the ones I had at TWU.
It was after her collegiate gymnastics career ended in spring 2018 that she found time for a boyfriend – with whom she is now engaged to be married.
For now, she plans to immerse herself into teaching, and to one day realize another dream – of teaching children in developing nations to speak English. “I always had great professors who had passion, and I believe they instilled that same desire in me – I couldn’t have asked for a better four years than the ones I had at TWU.”
Page last updated 1:32 PM, October 2, 2019