Student Spotlight: Kelly Notine

Kelly wears her uniform at work

Molly McCarthy

Kelly wears her uniform at work

Molly McCarthy, Guest Writer

To an ordinary student at MHS, the thought of spending an afternoon watching eighteen kids all between the ages of 1.5-3 years old is a terrifying prospect.  However, for Kelly Notine, it is just another day at work.  MDO had the opportunity to talk to Kelly (KN) about the process of getting the job, the nature of her responsibilities at the Kirby Center, and most importantly her relationship with the kids.

MDO: Where do you work and what specifically do you do?

KN: I work at the FM Kirby Children’s Center, which is a part of the Madison Area YMCA.  I work in one of four toddler rooms as a student aid.  When I get there, all the kids are asleep, and this is my time to get stuff done.  I make their snack, wash water bottles, and kind of just take care and talk to any kids that wake up early. I’ll change their diapers when they all get up and help the older ones with potty training.  We then give them their snack, and then just play with them until 6. Two year olds are amazing, because (for the most part) they are unconditional love. They also are kind of like tiny drunk adults who want to tell you everything about their day and their problems, which is hilarious.  

MDO: What was the process of getting the job?

KN: When I applied, I was not yet 15, so I put in an application and didn’t hear back until almost exactly the day after my birthday.  I came in for a working interview, met the kids, and started the next day!

MDO: Do you plan to work with kids in the future?

KN: I hope to work with kids in the future; I think it’s the coolest thing to get to see these kids grow and mature, and for them to idolize you and just look up to you is a really special thing.

MDO: Do you have any particularly funny stories about your kids and coworkers?

KN: I probably have too many funny stories to tell.  I once had a kid come up to me and tell me that he needed to change his shirt immediately or he was going to throw up.  There was also this time when we were having a snack, and, as a joke, we like to ask the kids what we are going to have for snack (ex: “are we having broccoli today?” and then they all yell back “No!”).  So we had been joking around that we were going to have lobster for snack, when it was cheese and crackers in reality, and the whole room was quiet and one child goes “more lobster and cheese please!”. Another time a child took my hand to hold, then retracted her hand, scoffed, and said “your hands are too cold!”

MDO: What has been your experience managing school and work?

KN: Managing school and work can be difficult; it was particularly tough when I worked five days a week.  But I currently break it down so that I work Monday, Wednesday, and Friday so that I have days in between to really cram and get my work done.

Kelly’s enthusiasm for and commitment to her kids are evident in the way she speaks of her job.  It is remarkable how she balances all of her responsibilities and how great of a role model and a resource she is to the younger community in Madison.  MHS is incredibly lucky to have students like Kelly Notine who are passionate about the development of Madison’s next generation.