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Governor’s school student ‘jumps at opportunities’

Tuesday, Jul. 15 | By Hannah Dellinger
Kristen Kelly, a rising junior at Kettle Run High School, will spend her summer at Governor's School at Radford University.
Photo by Doug Stroud
Editor's note: This article is part of a series on superlative Fauquier County students.

Kristen Kelly, participant in this year's Summer Residential Governor's School at Radford University and rising junior at Kettle Run High School, shows an uncommon hunger for self-improvement and life experiences.

She's joined numerous academic extracurricular camps and activities, plays music, volunteers, competed on the varsity swim team and still has time to go out with her friends. Kristen does all of this because she says that she has a passion for learning.
“I just love everything that I’m doing right now,” Kelly said. “I just want to take the opportunity to do what I love. If the opportunity comes up, there’s no reason to waste it.”

Kelly was selected from 200 finalists throughout Virginia to participate in the Governor's School program.

Her mother, Mary Kelly, says that Kristen is an independent self-starter.

“She just jumps at these opportunities when they come up,” said Mary. “I’ve never had to say, ‘Oh I think you should do this, or I think you should do that.’ Since she was little she always had that busy brain. She always had to be doing something or learning something. It was very easy at a young age to get her involved.”

Kelly left this past weekend to be a part of the Governor's School humanities program. She will live in the dorms for four weeks, take classes five days a week and have freedom to explore the campus.

Although she won’t receive college credit for the classes, Kelly said that she wants to participate so that she can get a taste of what college will be like.

“I’m only going into my junior year, so I’m starting to look at applying to colleges,” she said. “I thought, ‘Wow, going away for four weeks for a camp is such a good experience to see what it’s really like and you have some freedom to explore the campus and meet professors.’ I think it’s such a great opportunity.”

Kelly chose to enter the humanities program, because her favorite classes in school are history, English and literature.

She does have some time to think about what path her future career will take, but Kristen is already considering studying business and possibly law in the future.

Kelly will also intern at the Summer Quest Regional Governor’s School for middle school students this summer. She has participated in the two-week program for six years.

She said the program was a great experience for her in middle school. Now, she wants to help the younger students in the program who follow in her footsteps.

“I just loved learning and meeting new kids,” she said. “I always knew that you could be an intern, so when I got out of eighth grade, my last year as a camper, I was like, ‘I wanna come back. I wanna do this again.’”

Another one of Kelly's passions is music. She has been playing the viola for six years.

She plays the viola for the chamber orchestra at KRHS, leading her section as the principal violist.

Kelly also started playing with the Piedmont Symphony Orchestra last fall.

She volunteers her musical talent to play for nursing homes with a quartet that she and her friends organized on their own and has taken on teaching three younger students recently.

Kelly will attend Mountain Vista Governor’s school next fall for half of the school day, on top of her other classes at Kettle Run.

She is also a tutor for the Spanish Honor Society at her school, just got accepted to the National Honors Society and will serve on it’s school appreciation committee.

Kelly says that the reason that she is so involved with so many activities is because she enjoys every second of it.

“I am honestly driven to do everything,” she said. “I’ve always been a kid who just loves learning. School comes first, so I make sure that all of my work is done so that I can do my extracurricular. I just push as much as possible and don’t procrastinate.”
Mary believes that her daughter is a great example for other students. She can be involved and committed to learning, while still remaining humble and having a normal high school experience.

“She is a good role model, and I think that she likes to be, that’s why she mentors so many kids,” said Mary.

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