Southside Spotlight: Southwest High School Graduate Becomes Local TV Personality

A driven young woman at the tender age of 17 walked into the KENS-5 studios for an interview arranged by her high school journalism teacher. Her ambition, spark, and well-spoken words landed Jennifer Tobias-Struski her first job in multi-media communications. As she forayed into the unknown, she could not have possibly guessed that this was only the beginning of her career as a talented television personality, producer, and journalist.

Tobias-Struski was born and raised on the southside of San Antonio by a family determined to teach her strong values rooted in love. “My mother is the hardest working woman I know, and she taught me that hard work was necessary,” she shared. “She sacrificed a lot to provide a better life and pushed me to succeed.” As a teenager, she began her secondary education at Southwest High School and needed to select elective courses. She found herself in an introductory journalism class under the guidance of EMMY award-winning A. Mario Rios Jr, a former photojournalist for KSAT-12 and current UTSA communications professor. “Mr. Rios recognized the raw talent I had in journalism, and he took me under his wing,” she recalled, “In fact, he helped me land my first job at KENS-5”. Tobias-Struski shared how Mr. Rios prepared her on what to expect during the interview and even guided her with key details to emphasize. While she was worried that she didn’t possess the experience needed to perform the job, Mr. Rios assured her that he would be there to assist her in learning the necessary skills. As a result, she walked in confident, aced her interview, and was hired as a video editor.

She was now in a position where she had to learn quickly, and naturally, she learned from several mistakes. As a video editor, she was responsible for viewing a plethora of videos, some of which were gruesome, as broadcast journalism can be. She soon realized that her longtime goals were not video editing, and she continued pursuing her English communications degree at St. Mary’s University. Eventually, she became the morning show producer and developed a passion for on-air storytelling. “I would go out on my own time and film my segments, and since it was my show, I had control of what I was shooting,” she stated. However, the opportunity to segue into what she wanted to do wasn’t there at KENS-5. As such, she relocated to Colorado to pursue an opportunity that allowed her to do exactly what she wanted. While in Colorado, she married and had two children. After taking time off to raise her babies, she and her family decided to return to San Antonio.

Upon her return, she was ready to get back into the field, and coincidently, KSAT was launching a lifestyles-themed show. “I was excited to showcase positive news versus all the negative I had to work with,” Tobias-Struski recalled, “It was a very welcomed shift.” Since then, Jennifer Tobias-Struski has received many accolades, including her own EMMY award for her work as a producer. She is now a popular host on KSAT’s SA Live. You can view her work every Monday, where she highlights family-friendly and human-interest segments. When asked what advice she would give fellow Southsiders, she replied, “It doesn’t matter where you come from or how you were raised; if you have the passion in your heart, you can do anything.”

Article by Melissa Torres, Certified EC-6 Bilingual Educator. Images courtesy of Jennifer Tobias-Struski

Follow Live from the Southside on Facebook, InstagramLinkedInTikTok, and TwitterStay updated on what’s happening in the Southside and San Antonio by subscribing to our free digital magazine monthly at