Cassidy Keane couldn’t have fathomed that she would be back in Jamaica and loving her current occupation as director at St Andrew High School for Girls’ (SAHS) Centre of Career Advancement, Leadership and Scholarships (CALS) – but as the saying goes, ‘We make plans, and God laughs’.
In the heat of the pandemic, circa 2020, the now 24-year-old graduated from Wheaton College in Illinois and had to move back home. While on the job hunt, she got a call from the previous director of CALS, who thought she would be a fantastic fit for the position. Keane, however, wasn’t so sure. Her major was in communication rhetoric, and she had never seen herself as a college counsellor. She prayed about it, went in for the interview, and landed the gig.
While being a counsellor wasn’t in her plans, helping and guiding students on how to navigate the college education process has turned out to be a good fit for Keane. “I would have never imagined myself in a high school, but I realise that this is where I’m called to be, and this is what I love,” she says as sixth-form SAHS students watch our interview in the CALS office. “I love pouring into young women. I love to empower young women. I love to see them through to their own God-given purposes and planting those seeds from early.”
She considers the job purpose- and ministry-oriented. While giving college advice, her position delves deeper, as Keane also plays a role in guiding students through life.
Of her personality, she says, “I love people. I’m very interpersonal. I’m an extroverted extrovert. I could be around people all day.” The sixth-formers nod in agreement as Keane tells Flair, “there are no bad vibes” in the CALS office that is known to have quick and fun dance parties. “I love to dance, have a good time and let my hair down,” she later adds.
The bubbly Keane is also responsible for the leadership development programmes held at St Andrew High every Wednesday and Thursday, where the students can interact with people from different professions, including creatives, bankers, and entrepreneurs — getting ideas for what they could potentially want to do in the future and learning soft skills, while being encouraged and inspired. “I find that these sessions are extremely inspirational and bridge gaps,” she says.
Every day as the director of CALS is different, and while a majority of it has been remote due to the pandemic, Keane’s administrative duties include editing essays and running through applications.
Her hopes for the girls of SAHS? “What’s important to me is that every girl hones their specific gifting. I don’t want to see carbon copies of each other. I want them to, first of all, figure out who they are. Figure out their identities. Start to gain and understand their passions and who God has created them to be.” While looking at the students, she says, “I pray for these girls more than they would ever know.”
Speaking on the issue of college affordability, she says, “A lot of these girls get into schools, but they are not able to fund their time. So I think that is something we can advance at high schools in general.”
As we conclude our interview, we ask Keane what her hopes for herself are, and she answers, “I hope to be an author one day. [I] hope to step into full-time ministry. Motivational speaking and pouring into young women. Standing for truth and righteousness.”