The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


St. Mark's School of Texas
10600 Preston Road Dallas, TX 75230
The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


The Student News Site of St. Mark's School of Texas


Acho returns to campus

Sam Acho ’07 has been back on campus as his son Caleb Acho follows in his footsteps as a Marksmen. Acho discusses his fondness of the school, the lessons he learned and the memories he made.
Sam Acho ’07 stands with his dad, Sonny, and third grade son, Sam, after singing in chapel.

All things bright and beautiful.

The rich sound rang through the chapel as the Lower School boys sang the timeless hymn.

All creatures great and small.

Sam Acho’ 07 sat in the back, relishing in the beauty of the young voices singing the same song he had sung a decade earlier. 

All things bright and beautiful.

Sonny Acho, stood beside his son Sam, proudly singing the lyrics.

The Lord God made them all. 

Caleb Acho, current third grader, stood with his classmates as he sang the song for the first time. 

Three generations of the Achos standing together at the same school, in the same chapel, singing the same hymn. 

“It was this really amazing situation of just saying wow,” Sam said. “It’s been a decade plus, and again, I’m singing about the purple-headed mountains. Being there, watching my son, and having my dad sitting next to me and singing was special.”

Sam came to the school in second grade. It was a decision that didn’t hold much weight at the time in his 8-year-old mind. 

“I remember my dad asking if I wanted to switch schools, and I just said sure,” Sam said. “Then he told me it was an all-boys school in Dallas, and again, I just trusted my dad and said, if you want me to go, I’ll go.” 

Sam didn’t simply “go.” He left his mark. He finished high school as the sixth-best football prospect in the nation for his position and still holds the record for the 12-pound shot put. Along with incredible athletic achievement, Sam managed to stay on the academic honor roll all four years of Upper School. 

While Sam left a monumental imprint on the school, in different ways, the school did the same for him. 

While at school here, Sam learned to appreciate the uniqueness of every student. He vividly remembers the spelling competitions held in Decherd in fourth and fifth grade. His friend from PE, Sai Gunturi ’07, would win every time while a very competitive Sam grew frustrated. 

Gunturi went on to win the Scripps National Spelling Bee in 2003. 

“No wonder he won,” Sam said. “I had a friend who was good at spelling and another at math. Some of us are good at sports, and some of us are good at (everything.) It’s important to realize we can all bring each other up.”

Lessons like this played an essential role in Sam’s decision to send his own son to the school. 

The decision to return required many more pieces than when Sam first chose the school in the second grade. He fully understood the school’s strengths but knew there could be hurdles. 

Ultimately, Sam held onto one thing to make the choice. 

“It was my belief,” Sam said. “This school can be, and by the grace of God will be, the right place for my son.”

As an alum, Sam continues to impact the environment in multiple ways. 

“I was able to meet my son’s senior buddy, Caleb Maddox,” Sam said. “I got a chance to give him a copy of my books. Change Starts with You, and Let the World See You. I was able to say thanks for what he has done for my son, but also, maybe this can help him. So it’s not just this one-way street; it’s a two-way street.”

And, on this two-way street, Sam has seen the school feeding life back into his own family. 

“I ran into Marion Glorioso, the head of lower school,” Sam said. “My last year at the school was one of her first years. Fast forward, and now she’s helping run the Lower School where my son is a student. I also ran into Dwight Phillips, 8th grade basketball coach, and we had an hour-long conversation about life, health and my son. He told me to just let him know if my son needs anything. He talked about his love for the school and all the boys he gets to mentor and be there for. At that moment, I was reminded that this is a true community.”

For Sam, this community has been more than just an educational environment. 

“There’s a family perspective, a generation perspective, and a personal perspective,” Sam said. “It’s the Mrs. Gloriosos of the world, the Coach Phillips of the world the Caleb Maddoxes of the world that are helping me raise my child. It takes a village to raise a child; it’s not just me.”

While Sam has seen the direct influence of the school on campus, the school community has also raised its head in other unlikely places.

“I remember being in New York once, meeting with the commissioner of the NFL,” Sam said. “Walking out of the building, I ran into someone who asked me If I was Sam Acho. They usually know me from TV, so that’s immediately where my mind went. However, the man actually went to St. Mark’s and we ended up having a great conversation. Within this community, I get a special chance to connect with people from all over.”

As Sam continues to grow, he feels St. Mark’s has remained a strong pillar in his foundation, and prays this pillar will continue to stand firm for generations to come.

“I understand how integral of a piece St. Mark’s played in my life,” Sam said. “I’ve seen how far it has taken me, and I want my son and daughter to be blessed with that same opportunity.”

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About the Contributor
Lawrence Gardner, Sports Editor