Keeping Up With Kelly


Ms. Murphy with her yellow flower.

Brooke DeSantis, Contributor

Kelly Murphy is an English teacher here at EHS. Even though many people may know her, there is so much more to her than just her knowledge of English. She is a Penn State Honors College Alumnus where she double majored and obtained her bachelor’s degree in Secondary Education English on top of being an English major.  Ms. Murphy is an extremely hardworking person and strove for her academic success that led her here. She got a job right away at EHS, and went back to school to get her masters at Montclair University for Educational Leadership. She did this by going to night classes after her long day teaching at EHS. She grew up locally in Montvale, where she attended high school at Pascack Hills. 

Ms. Murphy is a middle child, and has two brothers. Her strongest influences in life have been her mom and grandma. She described her mom as “everything good about the world,” and moved on to say her grandma showed her what a strong woman looks like, and told her to not be fearful of taking up space. Her strong, independent qualities are derived from the qualities shown from the other independent women in her family. 

Ms. Murphy loves all kinds of music – enough so that her favorite hobby is making playlists for other people. She explained that she includes music based on how they make her feel, and what she thinks they would like. She is also a very active person and loves doing any activity that is outdoors. Ms. Murphy is an avid Taylor Swift fan. A memorable activity I did in her class was to decide if the line shown was from Shakespeare or written by Taylor. She stated that she admires Taylor because she’s a lyrical genius and apologetic, which many people would agree with.

She lives by the quote, “Today is the first day of the rest of your life,” which she says to everyone who comes into her classroom. Almost three years ago, a close friend of hers passed away in her sleep from unknown causes. This changed her outlook on life, and taught her that people should never wait to fix relationships and should treat people how they actually want to treat them. Her positive mindset comes from the realization of how precious life is, and to make the most of every day above ground. 

Ms. Murphy took an abundance of classes while in college, but her favorite class was officially titled “Teaching Empathy Through Literature”. She loved the professor. He renamed the course, “Books make you not a f****** a******.” He put this title on all of their syllabi. This class detailed how books help people understand different concepts and be kind. Reading helps give people different experiences that they may not have had, or ever experience themselves. Empathy is limited to one’s own experiences, but books can give people these experiences. There are few things in life more important than being empathetic, and that can be developed by reading.

To add, she believes, “in theory there is nothing more important than finding a love for reading.” To Ms. Murphy, reading was an outlet for stress and for school. She wanted to become a teacher because she wanted to help others utilize reading as a healthy outlet. She chose middle school and high school students because she wanted to connect with the students more. She described her love for her job by stating no day is ever the same, and she never just has to sit behind a desk, so she never gets bored. She gets to do what she loves, and feels like her job is her passion, and her passion is her job. When asked about her favorite class to teach, she couldn’t decide because she emphasized each class has something unique and enjoyable to it. She explained the best thing about teaching is getting to see all her former/current students, and seeing that they understand. She used the analogy of a light going off in their heads. When a student has been struggling, and then starts to understand, they make the connection which provides an inexplicable sense of satisfaction to both the student and her. Interestingly enough, she has a wonderful symbol of this phenomenon: a beautiful, fake yellow flower in her classroom given to her by a former student. This student originally struggled in her class and, throughout the year, showed so much growth. The student described that this flower represented how she felt, and the growth she had in the class. The flower was fake (unlike her student’s gratitude), so it would not die, and would be a decoration for many years to come. 

Beyond the classroom, Ms. Murphy is the 2022 class advisor. With it now being 2022, her time for advising is slim. She explained that she is very emotional about them graduating because she feels a lot for them, and 2022 has been her first class to advise. She has watched them grow from 12 year old middle schoolers to 18 year old young adults. She is excited for them to start their futures, but sad they are leaving. She explained it was like she grew up and matured with them because she started teaching at EHS at 23, only ten years older than when she met the members of the Class of 2022. 

Ms. Murphy is an excellent teacher and connects so well with every student she teaches. She has taught so many lessons to each and every student, and will be one of those teachers her students will never forget because of her kindness and her down-to-Earth personality. Her positive attitude always makes her students feel welcome. She is always there for each student and makes learning fun. Her book recommendations are unmatched. Her lessons have stuck with every student and she has influenced many of her students’ lives. She inspires students everyday and cares so deeply for each and every student she has. She radiates positively. EHS would not be the same without her contagious laugh and her caring personality.