What a Difference Four Years Makes

It really is funny the difference four years makes. I mean, I could have told you about all kinds of changes when I was a sophomore at Chelsea looking back at when the school was founded back in 2008. I remembered going from room to room with only 36 students in the whole school to my sophomore year having a full high school and our first graduating class in 2012. To look at the school now is an utter marvel. In my 7th grade advisory, I see the same yuppie energy and nervousness I carried into my 7th grade year when the school first began. I see, and now add to, the workload of the Juniors that used to keep me up late at night. And I see the joy and friendship of the senior class that I still cherish with my fellow seniors to this day.

Chelsea 9th Grade Picture


Coming back is an odd mixture of stress, nostalgia, deja vu, and glee. I find myself pouring over old math problems that used to give me such grief, sitting by as I watch others at the senior soccer game, and rejoicing that Fisher still holds its rightful place in the house competitions. Coming back as an authority figure has also been extremely fulfilling and eye opening. Recognizing that I was at one point “that kid”, and now enforcing rules that I myself used to break, really does give your humility a nice boost. It also really helps me understand what the kids are going through and why the rules are important for them to follow – in and out of the classroom.

Chelsea 8th Grade Night – Kieran is second from right


I’m not the first to come back as an alum; Anna Schaffer definitely gets that gold medal. But it’s also extremely exciting to know that I won’t be the last. My good friend Page Legarde will be joining our faculty soon and I am so blessed to work alongside not only men and women I consider my mentors but also my friends. The fact that I can join the faculty, feel right at home, and be surrounded by so many familiar faces really does say a lot about the kind of formation that is possible to receive at Chelsea Academy. Though, the saddest part of teaching is seeing those who do not take full advantage of that formation.

Member of Chelsea Baseball Team


I certainly did not take the full advantage of my time here at Chelsea and I don’t know a student who did. But coming back here after having gone to college and seeing the confusion present among Catholics on multiple universities, I will say Chelsea was a gold mine that I never dug as deep into as I should have. Seeing friends fall away, not being able to answer a counter argument with clarity, or not seeing a perfect score in the college report card really wakes you up to the kind of formation that was possible at Chelsea and how precious this time of high school is.

It’s ironic in a way, but coming back has really made me appreciate the great gift I have been given and my motivation for teaching is really to pass that gift along. I find myself constantly explaining the importance of a liberal arts education, discipline and order in your studies, and, of course, mathematics. I hope to pass on these skills to the students so they can use it in college and in their futures. As for my future, I don’t know what the future holds, and I’ve found it best to just leave it in God’s hands (this summer definitely convinced me of that). I am so happy to be back at Chelsea and I am ready for God’s next adventure!

Post  by: Kieran O’Donnell, Faculty Member and Chelsea Class of 2012 


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