Police Chief Todd Schmaderer, Class of 1990, didn’t have a say on where he would go to high school as his sister, Kayleen Degener Class of 1988, was already at Roncalli Catholic High School. He soon realized going to RCHS was the best decision he didn’t make.
“When you go to Roncalli Catholic you form a bond, it’s the perfect mix of size and classwork, extracurricular activities, and with that Catholic education, you form a bond with others that go to school with you.”
Chief Schmaderer was very active in sports all year round, lettering in football for two years, basketball for three years and track for four years, as captain for most of those years. To say Chief Schmaderer kept a busy high school schedule is an understatement.
As Chief of Police, he says he gets approached all the time by people saying, ‘I was from Roncalli. I went to Rummel.’ The connection is what he feels is so special about Roncalli.
“Take pride in your school,” says Chief Schmaderer. “If you still have friends that go to Roncalli or you know someone that goes there, the school has a connection to you even after leaving.”
Chief Schmaderer says Roncalli prepared him with a great education, but also socially. Things he learned from teachers and coaches really prepared him for life. Some of those lessons he continues to use to this day. “Those lessons are born from just playing with teammates and learning how to play together.”
“The biggest lesson it taught me, you can’t be afraid of going through open doors,” says Chief Schmaderer. “Roncalli opened doors for me through sports and other extracurriculars. And life is going to be full of opportunities. You can’t be afraid of walking through those doors, because once you walk through, there will be one door and another door and another door and it tends to lead upwards.”
After graduating from RCHS, Chief Schmaderer went to Wayne State for a year on a football scholarship. Then to the University of Nebraska of Omaha, where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Criminal Justice. He eventually went back for a masters degree from the University of Cincinnati. After his graduation from UNO, he was honored to join the Omaha Police Department in 1996.
“I oversee 1,200 employees; 800 of those are police officers,” says Chief Schmaderer. “As Chief, you have to take a global picture of things. And you have to be able to organize, communicate and lead. Roncalli taught me well because I played team sports, I was very busy and had to be very organized. You can’t interface and play three sports if you don’t know how to communicate. And those three things are very important for a Police Chief in a big city.”
Chief Schmaderer remains connected to his alma mater. He says a lot of his friends still send out group texts about when Roncalli is playing and who they are playing. A lot of them still show up. Formally, he has participated in the Roncalli Alumni Basketball Tournament for many years, though he considers himself a little too old to participate now.
He is an ambassador for the school. He says whenever he is out, if someone is looking for a school, he encourages them to visit Roncalli Catholic.
Chief Schmaderer has served as the master of ceremonies for Roncalli Catholic’s Festa del Leone and will be taking on this role again for the 30th celebration on April 13th of 2019.
“I had an amazing time and I’m so happy they asked me to be back. I look forward to it!”