Today we'd like to introduce you to Bridgette Kelly, our Career & College Center (CCC) coordinator at Como Park Senior High School. We asked Bridgette to share some insights into her life as a young student, her favorite memories from school and what she enjoys about working at AchieveMpls.
When you were a younger person, what's some advice you received that changed your life?
Travel! Both my parents and grandparents encouraged me to travel, explore and meet as many people as possible whose lives are completely different than my own. Being out in the world reminds me that most humans are kind, generous and open to learning from others. Most importantly, I'm reminded about how much I do not know and how much I still have to learn.
What is one of your best memories from school?
In eleventh grade, my chemistry teacher Mr. Black assigned a super intense chemical equation balancing worksheet to the entire junior class. After he graded everyone's work, he went over the answers with each class using my completed worksheet as an example. I was the only student with a nearly perfect worksheet, with only a half point off. It was one of the first times I realized what achieving my full academic potential felt like. I had taken my time and it paid off!
Who was your favorite teacher or school-staff adult?
I took Spanish from second through twelfth grade. I really, I mean really, did not like my Spanish classes and planned on dropping them once my high school credits were complete. But then Sra. Shari Hagen at Northfield Public High School changed my entire outlook in the four years she was my Spanish teacher. She developed meaningful, authentic relationships with her students, ignited my desire to learn, held me accountable and deeply encouraged me to participate in a Spanish immersion program in Costa Rica during my senior year spring break. I honestly learned more there in 10 days than I had probably learned in my 11 years of "studying" Spanish in school. She encouraged us to learn beyond the classroom, get out into the world and apply what we were learning.
What activity(ies) did you participate in during high school?
I was a jock, an over-committed do-gooder and a working woman. Volleyball, basketball and track were my sports. I wish I would have auditioned for the spring play instead of running track freshman year, but, you know, expectations and cute older boys got in the way. At various times I was a member of student council, yearbook committee, prom planning committee, National Honors Society and student leadership club. I loved my service-learning class with Sarah Swan-McDonald. I held down a weekend job to pay for a bunch of overpriced clothes I didn't need and my first car (Laguna!). High school is a great time to try out as many things as possible while you have the time. Explore!
If you could have lunch with any person, dead or living, who would it be?
I would have lunch with 14 year-old me. I would love to tell her about her passions and encourage her to pursue them, even if it's not what others think she should do. I would ask her about her experiences as the only Black girl in her grade. I would remind her to be kind and gentle with herself and others as she learns, grows, make decisions and changes her mind. I would encourage her to get outside into nature as often as possible, listen to the wind, watch the sun rise, bike to school, and tune in to each waking moment with gratitude. I would demand that she stop wasting two hours each morning straightening her hair! I would encourage her to ask her father about Octavia Butler. I would ask her what makes her feel free and tell her to run full speed in that direction.
What do you like most about working at AchieveMpls (so far)?
I love working with so many inspiring, talented Black People and People of Color!