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Ms. Kelly Fuses Fun With Fitness at Mount Mercy

by Aubrey Monaco

Fitness does not always inspire enjoyment for people, but for Kelly Tomlinson, one of Mount Mercy Academy's new co-teachers for Physical Education and Health, exercising means staying healthy while taking pleasure in the experience. 

Ms. Kelly came to Mount Mercy in September of 2021, and she was surprised that, initially, most students did not love to exercise. 

To change this attitude, Ms. Kelly implemented more diverse workout styles, like weight lifting, TikTok workouts, boxing, and pound fitness. 

“My goal since I have started here [at Mount Mercy] is to get more students to like working out, and also to inspire them to go to the gym outside of school, or to teach someone outside of school to move their body and know that…it can be fun,” Ms. Kelly stated. 

In keeping with this idea, Ms. Kelly began after-school fitness programs for interested students and staff members. One attendee of the student program, senior Izzy Radwan, said, “Ms. Kelly made me feel motivated and empowered to keep striving towards my fitness goals.” 

Buffalo has always been a special place for Ms. Kelly. She grew up in Derby, New York-just about 25 minutes away from Buffalo. She now lives in Lakeview with her husband and two daughters. 

“I love Buffalo. I love the different seasons, especially our beautiful summers,” she said.

She attended SUNY Buffalo State College for her first, third, and fourth years of college, and Ohio State University for her second year, graduating with a degree in health and wellness with a concentration in nutrition. 

Right after graduating, Ms. Kelly took a sales position at Pfizer pharmaceuticals. Eventually, she knew that this job was “not what [she] was passionate about.” She decided to leave the company and get certified in personal training, leading to the opening of her gym: BTC (Be The Change) Fitness & Wellness. 

Meanwhile, throughout these experiences, Ms. Kelly always felt that she “should have gone on…to teach health—what [she] loves.” The opportunity to teach at Mercy felt meant to be as it has allowed Ms. Kelly to continue working at her gym while also inspiring students at the school. 

Michael Hardy, physical education and health co-teacher and athletic director, said, “Ms. Kelly has been a tremendous help in assisting me with classes so I can tend to other matters of athletics. She has brought great energy, effort, and passion in teaching physical fitness to not only our students but our staff as well.”

Outside of her fitness career, Ms. Kelly and her husband have opened a DJ company in honor of her husband’s late sister. She also loves photography, and just one of the things she works on is senior portraits. 

Ms. Kelly is an example to “always chase your dreams, even if it feels like they are unobtainable, and live every day to the fullest.”

"Mount Mercy has positively changed my life forever. Through the inviting community, I was able to grow as a woman, as a daughter, as a friend, and as a member of society. Throughout my time here I have gained an education in both academic areas and life in general through the school's ongoing efforts to educate students on gender inequality, racial injustice, and environmental crisis'. Furthermore, Mercy has given me the space to gain confidence that 4 years ago I never would have guessed I would have. Mount Mercy has helped me take that initial step toward becoming the strong woman of color I am today. At Mercy you are more than just a student, you are whoever you wish to be."

Melina Courtney

Class of 2022

"My future, success, and the ability to be an empowered woman in society come from Mount Mercy. My school is a strong foundation for my role in life. From attending Mount Mercy, I can say with confidence, that I will graduate with the mindset that I can accomplish anything. Mercy is my home and my sanctuary to be whoever I want. Mount Mercy has been bringing forth generations of strong intellectual women into the world, and I am more than honored to be one of them. Mercy teaches girls more than academics, but also about the world around us. As a mercy community, we give back to the world because it is our home. From my four years at Mercy, I have been educated on pushing for equality and peace and the understanding that there is no limit to what I can do. I have the confidence to go out in the world and make a difference because being a Mercy girl has given me that opportunity. "

Cassidy Reid

Class of 2022

"Mercy is more than just a school. Mercy is my second home and a shoulder to lean on. Mount Mercy has given me the confidence and resources to pursue my passions and make the world a more inclusive place, propelling me to take strides into male-dominated fields. Mercy blessed me with an environment to grow intellectually and in the community, giving me the foundation to make a tangible impact while making lifelong friendships."

Adrianna Awald

Class of 2022

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