Ms. Kathleen Brophy has made many integral changes to the fitness curriculum. At the end of the school year, Brophy will depart from the high school, but she will leave behind a lasting legacy. 

Brophy teaches students across all grade levels, from Intro to Fitness, the mandatory health class for freshmen, to Power Up, a Fitness and Health class available for upperclassmen. 

“She is a very committed, passionate, caring teacher and is just interested in students taking away knowledge and skills that they can use in their life…I see that in the way she plans her lessons and brings forth new ideas for curriculum or things she wants to do with her students,” said Ms. Joanne Grant, director of Fitness and Health.

Brophy’s commitment to her students is also reflected outside of the classroom. “I think she genuinely cares for people’s well-being and it really shows in the way she acts around students. You can tell the way she talks to each individual student and pays attention that she genuinely cares about her job,” said Ayla Lin ’26, a student in Brophy’s health class.

Brophy came to the high school because of her work at Medfield High School where she taught Personal Safety, a course that taught self-defense, for six years. When Brophy started at the high school, the course known as Power Up was named “Power Up, Power Down” and slightly differed from what many students know it as today. It was a quarter-long class that taught self-defense and incorporated yoga. When Brophy was interviewed for the position she was told she could come in and make the course her own. She did exactly that. Power Up was made into a semester-long course focused on teaching self-defense and learning how to set boundaries. 

“[Power Up] helped me to grow in terms of pushing myself past boundaries that I wasn’t necessarily comfortable with,” said Mia Meletta ’24.

Another class Brophy is known for, Self Care, is a course that Brophy helped create at the high school. Self Care came out of a collaboration with Adam Diliberto, Academic Coordinator of the Bridge Program, which is a program that helps students reintegrate into school after extended absences.

“It was sort of a combination of taking both of our skill sets,” said Diliberto. 

The course began as Self Care for Educators, a program that was meant to create a space for educators to talk about their day and earn professional development points, which are used to track professional development requirements for teacher recertification. A year later, the pair pitched the idea to offer the class to students as well. 

The class focuses on different forms of movement: dance, stretching, yoga, and walking. They also added elements that center around mindfulness and meditation, with the goal of the course being to allow students to destress and take care of their mental health. 

“I hope they take away skills and strategies to apply to their own life. I hope they feel that they matter and that I care,” said Brophy. 

Brophy has also integrated her mental health and mindfulness practices from Self Care into her other courses. She ends all of her Intro to Fitness classes by leading her students in breath awareness. Additionally, Brophy begins all her health classes with the same exercise.  

“I believe mental health is not a one-and-done conversation, it is something to pay attention to every day. It’s continued. It’s daily. And so I bring it to everything,” said Brophy.

Brophy continues to emphasize mental health in all of her classes, ensuring that she keeps her classes engaging and relevant and pays attention to the Metrowest Health Survey, a biennial survey that identifies data about the health behaviors of Massachusetts youth.

 “I think no matter who you are, if you’re not feeling okay, no matter the content of the subject, You can’t learn if you don’t feel good. And so I love that in my classes, I get to put an emphasis on that and help people kind of find their value,” said Brophy.

After leaving the high school Brophy plans to spread her self-care teachings across the district. She hopes to stay in education but to bring what she’s learned about mental health and self-care to other schools, namely her Self Care for Educators program. 

“I feel that I’m ready to be challenged, and, hopefully, still do things that I feel are important and can help others. It’s just going to be in a different space,” said Brophy.

Brophy has helped to create a safe space for students and educators alike at the high school and her contributions will continue to be felt by many in the Wellesley community. 

“She is a very thoughtful, caring, and compassionate person who likes to help other people.  Whether that’s Self-Care or Power Up, she’s invested in helping other people become their best selves,” said Diliberto. 

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