Mary Fran O’Keefe continues her legacy

Alana Profit

After the bell rings signaling the end of class, students from all reaches of the school commute to the north building to go to band, science, or government. If they’re lucky, the door to the office adorned with a Halloween Christmas tree and multitudes of pictures is standing open and the welcoming personality of Mary Fran O’Keefe beckons them in for a piece of candy and an exchange of pleasantries.

Ms. O’Keefe has been working at BSM since 1977, and her job title has changed from Librarian to Cheer Adviser to Development Director and head of Student Council. “My title has changed a million times, but I keep doing the same stuff,” said Ms. O’Keefe.

Through her years here, one part of her job has been constant. Working at a school, she has to interact with people of all ages, but predominantly teens. Coincidentally, that’s her favorite part. “I like teens. They have high energy and show that the world is heading in a better direction.” said Ms. O’Keefe.

Ms. O’Keefe can be seen volunteering in a variety of places; she is often one of the people who collects admission tickets to the dances, she helps keep the books for the volleyball and basketball games. Along with volunteering, she also likes to attend BSM extracurricular events. “I love sports. Going to watch also helps to learn kids’ names,” said Ms. O’Keefe. She can also be seen in the audience of plays, musical concerts, or the speech showcase, so those who aren’t in a sport don’t get left out.

For the members of Student Council, she arranges a Secret Santa gift exchange and revealing party. Then, at the end of the year, there is a brunch for all the officers where they receive a gift from her. The gifts reflect on the student’s talents, personality, or where they’re going to college. Ms. O’Keefe’s attention to and knowledge of an individual surpasses most other faculty members.

As a member of Student Council, senior Ian Hamilton had the opportunity to go to the brunch sophomore year. “I got a sun pinata. [Ms. O’Keefe] said I always smiled and had a positive attitude. I would hope she’s right, I’m glad to have such an impact on people,” said Hamilton.

Over the course of her time here, she has met thousands of students and collected numerous senior pictures and memorabilia. “At last count I had over 500 senior pictures. I used to have them all up in my office,” said Ms. O’Keefe. Among those students are Missy Mahoney and Patrice Carlson, who now work in the front office.

She also has the uncanny ability to remember everyone’s names, including who their parents, siblings, and cousins are. “I think it’s genetic. I got that ability from my father who was good at remembering names and faces,” said Ms. O’Keefe.

With all the people she knows, it seems that it would be hard for her to keep in touch with students she’s worked with, but it’s not for her. “I send some mail and e-mail, I go on college visits, and I attend a lot of weddings and graduation parties,” said Ms. O’Keefe.

Ms. O’Keefe has seen many things while here at BSM, but her happiest memory happened in 2008. “Winning the state tournament for boys basketball was memorable,” said Ms. O’Keefe.

For Ms. O’Keefe, BSM has always been the correct choice and coming here to work every day has become a way of life for her. “I feel most comfortable in a Catholic school. It’s like my family here. It’s great to be a Red Knight.”