Faculty Interview: Campus Ministry Coordinator Ms. Kelley

Almost a decade ago, Notre Dame Academy Hingham gained a new staff member who would grow to be a core member of the community: Ms. Kelley. Though most often seen in Campus Ministry, she can always be seen with a bright smile, bringing the morning energy most of us don’t have. You’ve seen her on retreats, during service trips, or even during school liturgies. Let’s get to know our campus minster!

Born in Towson, Maryland, Ms. Kelley grew up in a large, military family as her father was an army officer. Many of her core values were developed in her childhood: family, community, and service to others. Because she moved around a lot, Ms. Kelley learned to be very flexible. She attended two different high schools in New York; in both, she was a very active student. She is proud to have been a part of her schools’ marching and concert bands, a manager of their respective swim teams, a JV and Varsity Cheerleader, a spring Track and Field runner among many other school clubs. Throughout her four years, she held part-time jobs and volunteered through her church youth group and school’s key club. Ms. Kelley spoke about how giving back to the community is part of who she is starting from a young age, and that part of her has only grown.

Ms. Kelley valued receiving a diverse college experience and felt she could experience the culture and religious variety best at the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Political Science while minoring in both American History and Public Relations. She entered under their pre-law program with the intention to become a Judge Advocate General (JAG) Lawyer. Throughout her undergraduate years, she continued to volunteer in her local community and was a part of many philanthropic groups. She also commented on how it was important to her that her school was very diverse. Later in college, Ms. Kelley grew unsure about whether or not she wanted to attend law school. She was advised to participate in a post-graduate program; her desire to integrate her passion for service and justice led her to the faith-based program, Capuchin Youth Ministries. Over the next few years, she worked as a youth and campus minister in various schools such as The College of William & Mary and Norwich University. Ms. Kelley attended Boston College for her Graduate degree in Theology and Ministry and later continued to earn a post-Master’s degree in Spirituality. Then, her journey led her to NDA.

Over the past ten years, Ms. Kelley has enjoyed watching many transformations take place at our school. She particularly enjoyed seeing “NDA become more mission-focused”, the growing emphasis on the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur and their work, and the growth of service trips and leadership opportunities. Originally, she was drawn to NDA because of the emphasis on social justice and education and its participation in a global network. If she were to teach a subject here, it would be the new Seeking Faith/World Religions class. Ms. Kelley has many favorite parts of our beloved school, the most prominent being the energy and desire to learn and serve that everyone brings, not just the students. She noted how beautiful it is to watch the entire school community support one another, especially for a cause. Ms. Kelley always loves the Baccalaureate Liturgy and Medallion Ceremony because she is able to witness the tradition of passing on the Medallions, especially within legacy families. Although Ms. Kelley is not a classroom teacher here at NDA, her job as Campus Minister is equally important. This is how she describes her role: “I take the pieces of what everyone else teaches and I make a new ‘recipe’”. By challenging our thinking outside of the classroom, Ms. Kelley helps us develop and appreciate different perspectives; she compared herself to a prism and the way it reflects a beam of light into multiple colors. We can all agree that these valuable skills can be applied in and out of the classroom.

One of Ms. Kelley’s favorite hobbies is listening to live music. She is a supporter of the theatrical arts and loves attending music concerts and open mic nights in coffeehouses. She enjoys watching people share their passion with others, something I can say we feel Ms. Kelley does with all of us when at NDA. She also likes to travel, an interest that likely was instilled in her at a young age. An interesting fact about Ms. Kelley is that she was assisted in creating the Public Relations minor at her college.

Ms. Kelley commented that working at NDA helped her become more patient with herself, and during her time here, she has a growing appreciation of her colleagues and the work they do. Her final piece of advice to her audience: “Be brave. Be awkward. Be kind, ” a quote by Brené Brown.

We so appreciate having you as the glue of the Notre Dame Academy family, Ms. Kelley. Thank you!

I will admit that interviewing Ms. Kelley felt a little different than my other interviews because I felt like I couldn’t talk about her students or teaching a subject as I did with all my other teachers. However, it was also really interesting hearing about NDA from someone who isn’t in a classroom setting most of the day. I grew to understand even more that Ms. Kelley still teaches us, but in a different way. She also helps set the foundations for our other experiences that shape our high school experience, all of which are equally important as our intellectual growth. We all know that Campus Ministry is the place of many laughs, conversations, naps, and plans for the weekend. These give us balance to our lives. We also grow through the retreats and service trips organized by Ms. Kelley and campus ministry; we learned about ourselves, our relationships, and our faith. At the end of this interview, I think I developed a greater appreciation of what Ms. Kelley does at NDA.