“She always wanted to do this (the Peace Corps) and has been very involved with global community events” while in high school, Karen said. “She always wanted to help people.”
“I’m very motivated,” said Kelly, who traces her desire to join to her third-grade teacher Cynthia Grady, who ignited the student’s desire to help others by talking about her Peace Corps experience in Africa. Since then, Kelly geared what she was doing in school with the goal of being accepted. She helped create a community service garden at the school in the fifth grade. She even visited Grady last year to tell her she was joining.
Another longtime influence is “Mrs. A.,” Kelly said, talking about Assistant Superintendent/Danvers High Principal Sue Ambrozavitch, who served as Kelly’s principal at Smith School, and who has known her and her family since Joy entered kindergarten.
“It is not surprising that Kelly has decided to join the Peace Corps,” Ambrozavitch said in an email. “In speaking with her over the past few years, Kelly has become increasingly committed to making a positive difference in the world and has thought carefully about her many options. She is focused, compassionate and articulate.”
Ambrozavitch said she looks forward to hearing more about Kelly’s adventures in the coming years.
At Danvers High, Kelly compiled a long résumé of activities, including winning the Kiwanis Key Club award for her work with the student organization that promotes community service. She volunteered at Beverly Hospital, took part in Model U.N., and served on the math and science teams, among other things.
After Danvers High, she spent a semester at James Madison University in Virginia as a premed student. She then switched gears and colleges to focus on education. She was influenced, she said, by her time volunteering in the special needs class at Danvers High taught by former special education teacher Emily Boulger, who used art to help students learn. Kelly did her student teaching in special education in Chicago, Karen said.