“After Valley” highlights select Valley Christian alumni of all ages, from our first graduating class of 1986 to our most recent graduates.
Jared “Mort” Schrieber ’93
This “After Valley” profile was originally posted in April 2015.
“Attending Valley Christian was a life-changing event for me. Had I continued attending public high school, it’s quite likely that I’d have dropped out before graduating.”Jared Schrieber '93
What did you do after Valley? Where did your life take you?
After being the only Senior on the VCHS 1993 track & field team who failed to score a point at the State Championships, I did what any realist would do – I tried to become a college decathlete. Scottsdale Community College was my first stop thanks to a football scholarship. The track coach there also welcomed me on his team as a wanna-be decathlete, but made clear that my only shot at becoming an All-American was in the javelin throw. Thanks to his coaching I earned a spot on ASU’s track team as a decathlete and javelin thrower. Determined to become an All-American, my personal best javelin throws improved by 100-feet in college and eventually led to a ranking among America’s top 5 collegiate throwers.
While at ASU, I became the president of the Sun Devil athlete student-government where I got to know my future wife, Reka Cseresnyes – a Sun Devil Hall of Fame tennis player, and her friend, Pat Tillman. Pat and I became good friends during his time with the Cardinals before fate led him to the Army Rangers and me to pursue a master’s degree at MIT. After Pat’s death in Afghanistan, I worked with his family to establish the Pat Tillman Foundation and its first scholarship program – an incredible experience that I would give up in a heartbeat to have Pat back in my life. He was by far the most amazing and inspirational person I will ever know, regardless of the heroic actions that have made him famous.
Tell us a little about your daily work:
In 2012, I fulfilled a lifelong dream of becoming an entrepreneur by founding InfoScout. (My VCHS classmates may still recall how competitive I was during the Junior Achievement entrepreneurship game we played in our economics class.) InfoScout leverages smartphone apps such as Shoparoo (a very school fundraiser app), Receipt Hog and Out of Milk to collect data on the shopping activities of American consumers. We then transform that data into analytic insights for America’s largest brands and retailers such as Nestle, Procter & Gamble, Walmart and even Visa.
Outside of my day job I coach a robotics team at my kids’ school and am the coordinator of a major robotics competition held annually at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. It’s become my new passion outside of work and I’m a firm believer that robotics competitions are currently where basketball was 100-years ago. It’s only a matter of time before every school with a basketball team also has a robotics team and I’d like to do everything I can to help accelerate that inevitable trend.
What’s one surprising thing we don’t know about you?
Once I realized that becoming an Olympic javelin thrower was not my destiny, I switched sports to Australian Rules Football. For me, it was the perfect combination of American football, soccer and the decathlon and within a couple years I was playing internationally for the US National Team.
While you were at VCHS, which teachers, coaches or classmates had the biggest impact on you?
Mr. Marlin Broek was a man I highly respected as a teacher, coach & athletic director – he really knew how to challenge me and bring out my best.
Mr. Al Nelson went above and beyond the call of duty to help me and a classmate, Eric Gellner, complete two years of AP calculus.
Finally, there was Mr. Bernie Benson, Valley Christian’s legendary football and track coach who played an outsized role in my transformation from an insecure loner to a confident leader. He made it clear that if I wanted to play football, I had to run track – even though I was a baseball player. His idea for a compromise was to meet me before school for 1-on-1 pole vaulting practices. Then, before I knew it, he’d signed me up for a decathlon. Although I finished next to last in that first competition, I fell in love with the sport and quit baseball for good.
How do you stay connected with your friends from Valley and VCHS?
When I lived in Chandler after graduating from ASU, I volunteered as the Junior Achievement instructor for Mr. Broek’s economics class that I had enjoyed so much when I was a Senior at VCHS. Now that I live in Silicon Valley, I rely on Facebook and an occasional homecoming to stay in touch with former classmates.
What’s one lasting memory you have of VCHS?
I’ll never forget the Class of ’93 graduation ceremony. With a class of 50 students, everyone knew everyone (for better and for worse!) After each person’s name was announced, the entire audience would clap as the graduate stepped forward to receive their diploma. Then, suddenly, the emcee read the name of Jared Morton Schrieber and the audience immediately went silent in a gasp that sucked the air out of the auditorium. “Who is Jared?”, they wondered. When I stepped forward, there was a raucous applause accompanied by chants of “Mort!” During my years at VCHS I had only one name: Mort. It was a name given to me by classmates as a prank and the more I fought it, the more it stuck – until I finally embraced it. Sadly, that graduation night was just about the last time I went by the name “Mort”.
Do you have any advice for current students?
Set your goals so high so that even if you don’t achieve them, you will achieve more than you (or anyone else) ever thought possible.
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