Spotlight ArchivePatrick Bonnot
Anthony "Tony" Brenneke
The Helias Foundation is proud to feature Zachary Rockers in our first Alumni Spotlight of 2021. Many will certainly remember Zach for his athletic prowess as a three-sport star for Crusaders a decade ago. But today's Crusaders know him in an entirely different role... To them, he's "Mr. Rockers, or Coach Rockers."
Rockers is currently (and proudly) employed as a theology teacher at Helias. Outside of the classroom, he also shares his athletic expertise and years of playing experience as both an assistant coach for the Helias basketball team, as well as serving as the offensive coordinator for the State Champion Helias football team. Additionally, Coach Rockers fills the role of advisor for the school's Fellowship of Christian Athletes student organization.
When asked what made him want to come back to teach at Helias, Rockers simply said, "Home. Helias is home."
Rockers graduated from Helias in 2011. He then went on to attend Columbia College, where he excelled as a member of the Cougars' basketball team. In 2015, Rockers graduated from Columbia College with a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration. He then went on to earn his Master of Arts in Teaching. After a brief stay at Father Tolton, Rockers eventually found his way back home to his alma mater.
And boy did it look different from when he left.
"What they've done to this campus is absolutely amazing," Rockers said. "From the addition to the science wing and the administrative wing, to the athletic complex across the street... I always thought that would be nothing more than a hole in the ground. Now thanks to the generosity of so many people in our community, they've turned that hole into some of the top athletic facilities in the state. It truly is remarkable."
"My favorite part though is definitely the chapel," Rockers admitted. "Our chapel is an amazingly beautiful place, and it's really been a blessing to so many here."
Such sentimentality for the school's chapel is hardly surprising for a devout theology teacher such as Rockers. So, it should come as no surprise that he understands the importance of the mission he's chosen to accept in his role at Helias.
"To me personally building saints and scholars for Christ is why we're here - it's why Helias exists. Yes, we're here to educate kids. We've been blessed and entrusted with these young adults and it's our job to educate their minds, and what a beautiful thing that is. But more importantly than that, we're here to help build up their souls and help them discover what God's calling them to be in life. Whether that's being the best version of themselves, or living the life they were made for; living life abundantly... Our goal is to bring out the very best in our students. A lot of that is getting them to understand the precious creation that they are," Rockers said. "Living the life God intended for you to have... That's what being a saint is all about."
Rockers minces no words when he explains what Helias means to him and how it's helped to shape who he is today.
"The man I am today is largely based on all that Helias has given to me throughout the years," Rockers said. "When I walk through those doors each day, there's a peace - a joy - there's a life and a love of life... It's hard to explain, but when you're here you just know what home feels like. And there are so many factors that make Helias feel that way; it's the students, it's the faculty and the staff... But most importantly, I think it's because you can feel the presence of Christ alive and well here. That's why it feels like home to me."
Rockers also understands what Helias means to this community... and what the Helias community means to educators like himself.
"The Helias community is part of what makes Helias so special," Rockers said. "There are a lot of different people and different families who are invested in Helias and believe in the mission and vision of Helias Catholic High School. I know they probably don't hear that enough, but we are so thankful for them and we are so blessed because of them. What we do wouldn't be possible without the financial backing and support of so many people who have stepped up because they believe in Helias."
"I think I speak for all of the faculty and staff and coaches here when I say that we believe in what our supporters believe in. That's why we're here. Not only do we feel blessed and privileged to be entrusted with their kids or grandkids... but we also feel a great responsibility and accountability to be the best that we can be - not only for the kids, but for the community that supports and entrusts us as well."
Do you know a graduate of Helias who deserves to be featured in an upcoming Alumni Spotlight? It doesn't matter whether they still live here in this community, or if they're doing big things somewhere far away. If we can reach them, we'd love to feature them. Please feel free to send us a name, contact information, and a brief description of why you feel they deserve to be recognized to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at (573) 635-3808. We want everyone to know what our Crusaders are doing, regardless of when they graduated or where they live. If they're an example to you, they can be an example to many, and we'd love to tell their story!
To nominate someone for the Alumni Spotlight, email email@example.com.