LAURENS — Kelly Tate wears many different hats in her hometown of Laurens.
Many of those hats involve her responsibilities at the town’s pool, where she serves as its manager.
“This is my fourth summer being manager for the pool,” she said. “I’m also the president of the Laurens Swim Team and I’m also on the Laurens Pool Project Capital Campaign Committee, which is working to raise funds to refurbish the swimming pool.”
That project has been ongoing for a number of years, but this summer, the committee’s working on a fundraising project for the pool.
“There’s a family with ties to the community that’s doing a two to one donation match,” Tate said. “Last week, we had a meeting and we’re at about $24,000.”
When it comes to the swim team, Tate said she doesn’t serve as coach, but takes care of several behind the scenes matters, which includes “setting up the meetings, getting the fundraisers and registration and all of that stuff taken care of.”
Tate has held a lifelong interest in the pool, which she visited many times growing up in town. That interest has spread to her family; two of her three children are members of the Laurens Swim Team.
She got involved with the pool project because she wants not only her own children, but all the town’s children to have a pool facility they can be proud of.
“I’m just making sure they have a good facility to continue to compete in,” she said. “They swim in the wintertime in Emmetsburg. We want to make sure they have some place to swim in the summer that’s in town and so we don’t have to drive. It seems like we have to drive for everything anymore.”
While Tate spends her summers out by the pool, it’s not her only job in town.
Her full-time job for most of the year is teaching middle-schoolers at the Laurens-Marathon Community School District. Tate teaches both reading and social studies.
She also serves on some committees and is president of the Laurens-Marathon Education Association.
“I don’t like to just sit around,” Tate said. “I like to be involved and help make decisions.”
As a Laurens-Marathon alumnus herself, she said it’s fun that she’s now teaching at the very school that she was taught at.
Tate just finished her eighth year teaching in the district.
Living in Laurens has also made all of her jobs easier.
“I know the kids outside of school and inside of school,” she said. “It’s easier for me when I live in town and they’re involved in the same activities my kids are in. A lot of my students I’ve known since they were really little.”
That helps her form connections with them.
“They’re more familiar with me if they’ve seen me at the swimming pool or seen me at church,” Tate said.
Her church, Laurens United Methodist Church, is also a place where Tate is very active.
“I’ve been a Sunday School teacher for 14 years,” she said. “I just finished my 14th year. And I just finished my fourth summer helping with vacation Bible school.”
Not only that, but Tate is also involved in the Sister City Commission, which works with the city of Laurens in France, the Iowa town’s sister city.
“We’re working on sending our student ambassadors in August,” she said. “We have two students going to France in August for 10 days.”
Tate believes that it’s very important to become involved in the town you live in, especially if it’s a smaller town like Laurens.
“If you want to help make a difference or you want to be involved in the things, or have your opinion heard, the best way to do that is to be involved,” she said.