American Graduate Champion: Kelly St. Julien

KLRU shares the inspiring stories of the people that are making our community a success! As part of our American Graduate initiative, we’re honoring American Graduate Champions that have been submitted by the community.

kelly_stjulienToday’s Champion is Kelly St. Julien. Kelly is the Hot Spot Coordinator of the Boys & Girls Club of Austin and the Site Director of the Boys & Girls Club East. Kelly is a Champion because he’s been the typical Boys & Girls Club kid. Growing up in Lafayette, LA, the Boys & Girls Club was home away from home — a place where he felt safe. Kelly was able to grow and flourish in this environment where he was given the freedom to explore and build a computer from donated parts and a computer manual he picked up. From there he developed a usage and maintenance policy and ran their computer room once they were able to get more computers. He started running club programs at 14-15 years of age that still run today. Kelly wants his B&G Club kids to be able to experience what he experienced at his hometown club. He wants his kids to find something that they are good at and make the B&G Club “their club” just like Kelly did in his youth. Kelly knows the tough life that some of his club kids come from and has learned that giving children the structured freedom to find something that they excel at in a safe environment is powerful, life-changing and self affirming. The recognition letter submitted by the community said: “This position at the Boys & Girls Club is not just a job, it’s a mission and you can hear it in his voice and see it in his face when you get him talking about his dreams and ideas of where he wants to take the club in the future. You cannot help but be inspired!”

Do you know someone in our community who is working to improve high school success for students throughout Central Texas? Recognize them as an American Graduate Champion! American Graduate Champions can be students who work as mentors, business leaders who serve as role models, school officials making changes to better the system, parent activists, and even struggling students who are overcoming obstacles in order to graduate.