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Forever Rockwood: Feb. 9

Forever Rockwood: Feb. 9

"Forever Rockwood" is a new series in which the Rockwood School District features alumni from Eureka, Lafayette, Marquette and Rockwood Summit high schools who make a lasting impact on their communities.

Read some of their stories below. If you have a "Forever Rockwood" candidate in mind, please send information about them to

Mary Thaier (Rockwood Summit Class of 2014)

A Rockwood graduate smiles in a picture from around the time of her graduation and a current picture.

For Mary Thaier, the road to KSDK Channel 5 News began in Fenton. Thaier attended Rockwood schools from preschool through high school graduation, advancing from Vandover Early Childhood Center to Bowles Elementary to Rockwood South Middle before Rockwood Summit. 

"My Rockwood education means everything to me. I don’t know who I would be without it!" she said. "High school was an incredible experience and, thanks to my teachers and coaches, I really found myself and who I wanted to be."

KSDK hired Thaier as an associate producer in April 2022 and, this past October, she was promoted to an on-air talent for KSDK's "Show Me St. Louis" show.

Thaier said she enjoyed impactful experiences throughout her time in Rockwood. A class trip to Quebec with French teacher Michelle Kasch (now Bunyard) inspired a love of travel that would deepen through study abroad opportunities in Thailand and the Netherlands while Thaier studied at Webster University. Cheerleading with coaches Bunyard and Lauren LaMar helped build leadership skills, and trying her hand at multiple mediums with former Rockwood Summit journalism adviser Clay Zigler gave Thaier a head start on her career path.

"Cheerleading and the Summit journalism program were major foundations in the person I am today!" she said. "I can say with confidence that without my journalism classes, I wouldn’t be where I am. I won national photography awards and was a part of the radio staff that launched a fully functional FM radio station with the FCC. Serving on the radio, yearbook and newspaper staffs gave me a crash course in the career field I would be entering."

Kacey (Wisdom) McBride (Eureka Class of 2008) and Kory Wisdom (Eureka Class of 2010)

Two Rockwood graduates smile in "then and now" pictures: near the time of their high school graduations and with their family

Siblings Kacey (Wisdom) McBride and Kory Wisdom experienced a K-12 Rockwood education two years apart: Kacey at Westridge, Eureka and Blevins elementary schools, LaSalle Springs Middle and Eureka High; and Kory at Eureka and Blevins elementary schools, LaSalle Springs and Eureka High.

Both have also returned to become educators in the district: Kacey as a science teacher at Marquette High and Kory as a math teacher at LaSalle Springs.

"I loved my time as a student in Rockwood," Kacey said. "I felt well prepared for college and developed great connections with my teachers. It is really important to me to do the same for my students. I also really appreciated the wide variety of classes that were offered."

Both Kacey and Kory said they appreciated the community feel they experienced growing up and going to school in Eureka, a benefit they continue to enjoy.

"From the extracurricular activities to the sporting events to each class I was in, I felt valued and accepted," Kory said. "I always felt a sense to return home and be there for my students as so many teachers did for me. I still feel a sense of home when I go into Eureka and see many of my former teachers. I felt that Rockwood really set me up for success. With the wide variety of activities and classes offered, I felt more than prepared for college and beyond."

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