Kayla Schneider has three goals she wants to achieve: be a computer programmer, teach French and own a business. At 21, she’s already completed one of those goals – she opened a bookstore, Sage Books, in the summer of 2011.
“I was the kid in school who would get in trouble for reading during class,” Kayla said. “I loved books and I always wanted to open a business, so this was the perfect fit.”
An entrepreneurial spirit runs in the family; Kayla’s parents are the owners of Bike Stop Café in Frenchtown in St. Charles. She was working at the Café when a storefront went up for sale three doors down. Her mom asked her, “Wouldn’t it be cool if you opened up your own bookstore?” And that’s where it all began.
“It was a rash decision, but it worked out,” Kayla said. “By the end of the night we had already picked out the name.”
Soon Kayla was buying books from stores that were going out of business and collecting donations from her family and the community. “My family was a huge part of getting the store set up,” she said. “They donated a massive amount of books and were supportive throughout the whole process.”
With her business underway, two goals remained – becoming a computer programmer and a French teacher. Both required her to finish her education. She chose St. Charles Community College because of the flexibility and affordability of its classes.
“I knew that if I went to SCC, I would be able to do it all,” Kayla said. She needed to go to school, run a business and find time for friends and family, including seven younger siblings.
Kayla appreciated how close SCC was to her work and home after going away to school for two years. “After I graduated high school I went to a local four-year university for a year then moved to Florida and went to a couple of schools down there,” Kayla said. “It was exciting at the time – living so far away from everyone and being on my own.”
But she started missing home, so she moved back and enrolled at SCC. “After moving across the country, going to a school that was close to everything was important,” she said.
Kayla says the professors at SCC knew her name. “In Florida, most of my classes were in auditoriums, and I never talked to any of my teachers in person,” she said. “I got more personal interaction with my teachers at SCC.”
And it’s not just the teachers that Kayla liked about SCC. “The student services staff at SCC were very accommodating and helpful,” she said. “It made the process of moving here and registering for classes a lot easier.”
While Kayla has time before she accomplishes all of her goals, she’s enjoying the journey. “I have a lot I want to do, and I want to do it all,” she said. “I like learning about different things and I have a hard time narrowing it down.”
She graduated from SCC in May 2012 and transferred to Lindenwood in fall 2012 to pursue a bachelor’s degree. “But if I could keep going to SCC, I would,” she said. “I enjoy going to school and learning something new every day.”