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Field hockey competitor sees a need for peace, justice

Visitation goalie, a U.S. Presidential Scholar, tackles tough topics

Field hockey goalie Jordan Tierney is a graduate from Visitation Academy and will be attending Massachusetts Institute of Technology to play field hockey while studying aerospace engineering.
Photo Credits: Lisa Johnston
On the field, Jordan Tierney is a fierce competitor. Off the field, she’s an advocate for peace and justice.

Tierney’s success as a field hockey goalie for Visitation Academy includes conference player of the year, first-team all-metro honors, scholar athlete and more. She also received all-conference honorable mention honors in lacrosse, where she also was a goalie.

But there’s much more to Tierney, who recently was selected by the U.S. Education Department as one of two graduating seniors from Missouri named U.S. Presidential Scholars.

Tierney, vice president of Visitation’s peace and justice club, and Grace Kalil, club president, gave the welcome to “Living Faith With Action,” the third annual Sister Antona Ebo Social Justice Conference in February planned and implemented by Catholic high school students in the archdiocese. The two Visitation students also gave a presentation on “White Privilege: It’s Not Your Fault,” focusing on understanding white privilege and the responsibilities that come with it.

The topic is “so important in St. Louis and at Viz and a lot of private schools as well,” Tierney said. “We’re a private school, expensive and not a lot of minority students. We tried to create dialogue. Nobody wants to talk about it, really. It’s a difficult topic to talk about. But it’s your responsibility to use your white privilege to help amplify the voices of people who don’t have a voice and help spread the word of equality.”

Being raised Catholic has given Tierney, a parishioner at Ascension in Chesterfield, a perspective of thinking about others before herself. It has ingrained the Gospel message in her and a calling to see “how can I help someone else today, whether that’s a small thing or something bigger,” she said.

Tierney, who attended Visitation since the fifth grade, credits her school with providing the academics to qualify for the presidential award and her other success.

Field hockey is a joy for her, “relaxation, when I can focus on getting better and improving my skills and don’t have to worry about what I’m doing outside field hockey,” she said.

She’s competitive in everything she does, and in the goal she focuses on doing her best. Bruises are part of the game, she added with a chuckle.

Originally, she played soccer, urged to play goalie because she was tall. She started playing field hockey in the seventh grade, hoping to be on the field but her team didn’t have a goalie so she was recruited, having experience as a soccer goalie.

Tierney will attend Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge, Massachusetts, this fall studying aerospace engineering and playing field hockey. She’s had a desire of being an astronaut since the fourth or fifth grade.

At Visitation, she also was on basketball, soccer and track and field teams. Sports isn’t an impediment to academics because “I have to manage my time well and get work done,” she said.

Tierney was a student leader this year on the school’s robotics team which combines with Saint Louis Priory School. She was in charge of the fabrication team. She praises Visitation for providing a lot of opportunities for students.

David Colón, head of School at Visitation Academy, said Tierney is “both a stellar student and athlete, and truly embodies our school credo, ʻbe who you are and be that well.’”

>> Presidential Scholars

Missouri high school seniors (class of 2020) Jordan Tierney of Visitation Academy and Rahul Kanna of Lafayette High School and were selected as members of the 56th class of U.S. Presidential Scholars. A total of 161 students from across the country were recognized for their accomplishments in academics, the arts, and career and technical education fields. Missouri’s Department of Elementary and Secondary Education had selected 10 semifinalists.

Approximately 5,300 of the 3.6 million students who were expected to graduate from high school this year qualified for the 2020 awards. Candidates were recognized for outstanding performance on the College Board SAT and ACT exams, or through nominations by state departments of education and other recognition organizations, including the National YoungArts Foundation. Students must also display evidence of community service, leadership and a commitment to high ideals.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson said on a Twitter post that “Rahul and Jordan represent excellence in Missouri education and the promise of greatness in America’s young people.”

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