Superintendent’s Spotlight: Michael Kelly


Superintendent’s Spotlight: Michael Kelly

January 5, 2024

WVHS senior Michael Kelly is a scholar-athlete who is in the National Honor Society and co-captains the Wildcats swim team. He is a Mesietrsinger, tutors younger students, interned for a state senator, has a side hustle as a swim teacher, and is active in both Youth in Government and Student Government.    

“I very much like interacting with people, and I can’t sit still,” said Michael about his many commitments. “But you know what? It works!” 

Michael began swimming at a young age and was swimming competitively for both a local club team and the Wildcats by 7th grade. Last year, he was part of the Wildcats relay team that won states, setting Warwick Valley records in both the 200 freestyle relay and 400 freestyle relay.

In his second year as co-captain, Michael thinks the team has shown great resilience after losing some strong senior swimmers from last year. 

“So far, it’s going pretty well,” he shared. “It’s a different dynamic, but different is good. We have a lot of younger [swimmers], which is great, and we’re all working really hard and trying to exceed where we were last year.”

Michael has parlayed his affinity for swimming into a fitting employment situation, and acquired his lifeguard certification at WVHS with Ms. Hamilton.

“But, then I kind of freaked out about the idea of having to save someone; that being on me,” he shared with a laugh. “So, I thought, ‘Okay, maybe giving swim lessons is a better route for me to go.”

He became a swim instructor at the Goshen Aquatic Center (where his club team trains), and has been teaching children ages five to 12 to swim for the past two years. 

When he’s not in the pool, you can often find Michael performing or taking part in parliamentary procedure. He has been part of the WVHS Meistersingers since his sophomore year, and has been in school choral groups since 6th grade. As the Meistersingers’ treasurer, he helped handle the finances for the group’s recent trip to Radio City Music Hall. 

“That whole trip was a really fun experience,” he said. “Now, we’re rehearsing for a performance at Lincoln Center this spring.”

Michael has also represented the WVHS performing arts program with high scores and ensemble selections at numerous local and regional competitions and festivals, including the NYSSMA Area All-State Mixed Chorus this year. 

Over the summer, Michael was an office intern for NYS Senator James Skoufis. He has also served two terms on the senator’s Youth Advisory Council.

“I worked on Senator Skoufis’s reelection campaign last year, so I knocked on something, like, over a thousand doors,” said Michael. “I’m very proud of that accomplishment. It was a tight race, but we pulled it out, and I think he’s doing great work.” 

As part of the WVHS Youth In Government group, Michael takes part in Steering and Platform Conventions attended by schools from across Orange County. During the conventions, students run for mock elections to state positions. Michael ran for State Assembly and won the People’s Party nomination. 

“I had to write and record a speech, and I’ll be going up against the Citizens Party nominee,” he said. “Our videos will be shown to most of the social studies classes in schools around Orange County, so wish me luck!”

A win would have Michael travel to Albany to meet with his respective regional politician, Karl Brabenec. As far as his role in school government, Michael is the Class of `24 social co-chair. 

“Everyone on the Student Council is just hoping to have a great rest of the senior year,” said Michael. “My friend Ally and I collaborate on the Instagram, and right now we’re looking ahead to prom, and just working hard towards making sure the rest of the year is awesome.”

Michael regularly achieves Summa Cum Laude honor roll status, and is part of both National Honor Society and Mu Alpha Theta. The two groups give him opportunities he enjoys, to mentor younger students. 

“It’s really fun. We tutor two to four kids, and just try to help them as much as we can,” said Michael. “Sometimes sixth grade math is surprisingly hard, but we figure it out.”

When it comes to post-Warwick life, Michael plans to pursue a degree in business or something in the finance/economics realm. While he loves politics, he feels better suited for business.

“I think that in politics — although I’ve had great experiences with Senator Skoufis — there can be this environment of [one-upmanship] that I don’t really care for; like everyone’s out there trying to get their own thing,” he said. “I definitely appreciate the hustle, but I feel a little bit like, ‘hey, let’s just get the work done and stop the grandstanding.’”

When we asked Michael where he thinks he may want to take his studies after graduation, he prefaced his answer with this fun personal detail:

“This is actually really weird, but I can name every King and Queen of England, from 1066 to now. I love history in general, and especially British royal history. It’s an obsession I’ve had since I was nine years old. I even wrote my college essay about it.”

As part of his plan to live a life that is fulfilling and fun, Michael said he’s taken to “doing things for the plot!” He explained that means taking (or even making, if need be) the exciting opportunities that may only come up once in a lifetime. 

And, so…

“I applied to one school in Scotland. I wasn’t aware of it at the time, but it turns out it’s where Prince William went to school,” said Michael with an excited grin. “And, I got in! So, yeah… that’s an opportunity I’m considering.”

Congratulations, Michael! 



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