Kelli Capel: Ready, set, TEACH

Senior English major Kelli Capel is joining the proud ranks of Teach for America in the fight for education equality come fall.

A native of Hermosa Beach, Calif., Kelli will be teaching English to underprivileged youths in South L.A. at either the middle school or high school level.

"Service has always been a huge part of my life — as it is at LMU," Kelli said of the two-year commitment. "LMU's mission statement is largely what's driving me. I hope to not just educate young minds, but hearts and spirits as well."

Following graduation Kelli will be formally inducted into the program and then fly to Phoenix to take part in a five-week training intensive in preparation for her teaching post.

"For me personally, it goes beyond just teaching," Kelli said. "I really want to be part of their growth, a factor in what motivates them to continue their educations."

She adds that it is a wonderful way in which to earn one's teaching credential while actually getting experience in the classroom.

Recruited to run on the track and cross-country teams, Kelli says she ultimately decided to attend LMU after learning more about their time-honored Jesuit philosophies, such as the "education of the whole person" creed.

"I have found that through my classes at LMU and all the opportunities to serve the community — not to mention being involved in various on-campus organizations, that I have truly been able to more fully educate my whole self," Kelli said.

In addition to her athletic pursuits, Kelli is a member of the service organization Sursum Corda and the Christian Living Community.

"I quickly realized I was at LMU for a purpose larger than just running track," Kelli said, "and that purpose is service."

Kelli admits she is a bit anxious about heading into the classroom, but remains strident in her goal to instill a sense of good character in her pupils and the power of the written word.

As for what advice she might have for incoming Lions?

"Be open and available — especially during your freshman year," Kelli said. "I wish I could have gotten even more involved. There are just so many ways in which to get involved on campus and in the surrounding L.A. community."

In addition to being accepted into the Teach for America program, Kelli will walk away from the bluff with one other big outcome... her new husband Lance, a fellow Lion and track teammate.