“Keystone taught me so many important lessons around collaboration, listening, empathy and giving back to your community! All of these skills I continue to use daily as a school principal.” – Katie Grassa, Principal at Curley K-8 School In this month’s Alumni Spotlight, Katie Grassa, who is the principal at Curley K-8 School, shares how attending Edgerley Family South Boston Boys & Girls Club prepared her for her role today as the leader of Boston Public School's largest K-8 school community. Fast Facts Name: Katie Grassa Club: Edgerley Family South Boston Club Years attended: 1993-1999 Current occupation/university, etc.: Boston Public Schools Principal, BA UMass Amhert 2003, MEd Lesley University 2006, MEd Harvard University 2011, EdD Boston College 2022 Favorite Club activity: My favorite activities from the Club were Swim Team and Keystone. I originally joined the Club just for the swim team but as I began to make friends on the team I started to branch out and hang in the teen center. From there I was eventually hired as a teen staff and joined Keystone. Were you involved in any clubs/teams or win any awards? I won the Brickley Award in 1998 and Youth of the Year in 1999. I traveled to Florida for the Swim Team Nationals and to Philadelphia and Anaheim, California for Keystone Conferences. We even hosted a regional Keystone conference in Boston as well. In her own words What qualities and skills did you learn from your Club that you carry with you day-to-day? Keystone teaches the youth of today how to be the leaders of tomorrow. I have enjoyed leadership opportunities ever since participating in Keystone as a teenager. Keystone taught me so many important lessons around collaboration, listening, empathy and giving back to your community! All of these skills I continue to use daily as a school principal. Who is a mentor that made an impact in your life, and how? It is so hard for me to choose one. There were so many staff at the Boys & Girls Club who are still a part of my life. I am grateful for Ed Hoell, Steve Lampron, Dan Monahan, Pattie McCormack, Anne Gordon, Mark Thomas and Kate Croteau. All of these people are still a part of my life. We continue to connect at Club events, socially and on social media. I am grateful for their guidance, support, and belief in me as a youth, but I am also grateful for the friendship they continue to offer me as an adult. How has your Club experience led you to what you’re currently working on/studying? I currently lead Boston’s largest K-8 School and have a Masters Degree in School Leadership and a Doctorate in Educational Leadership. There are direct links between my time in Keystone and my career. It was in Keystone that I first learned how to lead peers, plan detailed events, manage a budget and collaborate with partners. These are skills I use every day at my job. The staff at the Boys & Girls Club recognized my leadership abilities and coached and supported me to develop those skills as a teen. What advice do you have for younger members? Find something you love to do at the Boys & Girls Club. If they are not currently offering that to you, find a staff member you connect with and ask them to support you in advocating for activities that make you want to go to the Club after school each day. Also be willing to try different activities. You never know where you will find new personal strengths. In all honesty, I only joined Keystone because I heard they went on trips but there was so much more to Keystone that has shaped my life! The trips were worth it but the friendships and lifelong lessons I learned are with me daily. Looking for ways to support our work? Learn more and get involved today. Katie Grassa, Principal at Curley K-8 School Katie (right) at Swim Team practice with friend Julie. Katie (left) with Club teens leading trip to Six Flags. Katie (right) at Club Prom event organized for younger members.