2019 Honoree: Kelly Darby, P '16, '19
Volunteers, the true cornerstone of McQuaid Jesuit, embody exactly what it means to be men and women “for and with others.” Over the past decade, Kelly Darby consistently displayed this approach in everything she did not only for her sons — Seamus ’16 and Brady ’19 — but for the school.
She regularly went above and beyond the expectations of everyone — parents, students, and school administrators — enthusiastically approaching each task, large or small, with the mantra, “Anything for McQuaid.” Whether it was serving as a parent coordinator for the volleyball program, representing the school in marketing videos, serving as co-president of the Parents’ Association, recruiting volunteers for events, or sharing her perspective on countless topics to school leadership, Kelly was an invaluable and significant asset.
Her inspiration, resourcefulness, thoughtfulness, and creativity made her a tremendous volunteer who was sought after whenever McQuaid needed a helping hand. She is an energetic leader who truly cares for the school and believes in its mission. She loved meeting new families and recruiting them for volunteer opportunities. One current parent noted, “She is a wonderful person who loves to give back…and she always put 120% in anything she did for the school.”
Her generosity was incomparable and her ever-present enthusiasm was contagious to all who worked with her. Kelly’s passion for selfless volunteerism and her drive to make McQuaid a better place for current and future students are why she has been selected as McQuaid Jesuit’s 2019’s Volunteer or the Year.
A volunteer, as defined by Webster’s Dictionary, is, “A person who freely offers to take part in an enterprise or undertake a task.” It would surprise no one who knows Suzanne Laese, P ’15, ’17 if one day her photo was published next to the definition. Suzanne epitomizes the true meaning of a volunteer; going above and beyond what is expected no matter the task. She consistently gives not only her time, but also her energy, love, positive attitude, and soul to McQuaid. She has been involved in numerous activities in McQuaid, including, but not limited to: volleyball program coordinator, lacrosse program coordinator, 2016 BASH co-chair, 2017 Mom Prom co-chair, and inaugural chair of the Parents’ Association Fall Fashion Show.
Suzanne’s creativity, dedication, and flexibility always are displayed, and those qualities, along with those mentioned above, make both students and their families want to work with her. As stated by some of her peers, Suzanne politely requests for assistance and people will be there for whatever is needed because they know the event will be organized, successful, and fun.
As an alumni parent (Brody, ’15 and Riley, ’17), Suzanne has validated McQuaid’s saying of “tradition never graduates” as she continues to remain involved in the life of the school. Whether it’s in the cheering section at a game, volunteering at an event, or making herself available for event consulting, Suzanne’s selflessness is unparalleled, her enthusiasm is unrivaled, and her genuine passion for the school is why she is McQuaid’s 2018 Volunteer of the Year.
Connie DiFelice, P ’19
Lisa Courtney-Holmes, P ’17
In 2014, Connie DiFelice, P ’19 launched an idea to help new mothers at McQuaid meet one another. As a “Catholic school mom,” she was accustomed to being a room parent, helping with lunch duty, and setting up student/teacher lunches. After her son, Frankie, started seventh grade at McQuaid, she realized how much she missed these opportunities and decided to create a way for McQuaid moms to socialize with one another while engaging in community service projects.
From Connie’s vision, “Mothers for Others” was born. Monthly outings to local non-profit groups and charities matched the moms’ skills with a number of activities, including sorting, sewing, cooking, building, and more. Mothers for Others enables the McQuaid community to develop a partnership with its neighbors, model service for students, and get to know their peers who are also engaged in raising their sons as McQuaid Knights.
Seeing the need to communicate the good work of Mothers for Others, Connie teamed up with Lisa Courtney-Holmes, P ’17, to create a website defining, highlighting, and pictorializing all the great work Mothers for Others was accomplishing.
Thanks to Connie’s and Lisa’s great work during the past three years, Mothers for Others has participated in nearly two dozen projects at, among others, St. Peter’s Kitchen, Saint’s Place, Foodlink, Alternatives for Battered Women, Sanctuary Village, and Catholic Family Center. Connie and Lisa have created a community for McQuaid parents to demonstrate their talents, meet other people, and advocate for McQuaid, all while highlighting McQuaid’s mission of being Men and Women for Others. For this work, they were honored at September’s Hall of Fame dinner as Volunteers of the Year.