ALUMNUS OF THE MONTH
This month’s Alumnus of the Month spotlight belongs to
Kelli Langdon, Class of 2001.
Kelli, daughter of John and Pat (Bray ‘72) Langdon of Jacksonville, comes from arguably one of the most well-known Routt families, and certainly one of the originals - a family whose Routt lineage spans over 100 years. Kelli’s great-grandmother, Lillian (Lonergan) Flynn, was a member of the class of 1908, one of the first classes to graduate from Routt. Lillian was married to Frank Flynn, and in 1941 their daughter Peggy (Flynn) Langdon received her Routt diploma. In 1950, Paul (’40) and Peggy Langdon were married and eventually had three sons, John, Greg, and Philip, all who have become pillars of the Jacksonville and Springfield communities and unwavering supporters of Routt Catholic High School. John attended Chaminade College Preparatory School (St. Louis, MO) for his high school education, after which he came back to Jacksonville and married Pat, a 1972 Routt graduate, and together they had two Routt graduates of their own – Megan (McGuire ’97) and Kelli. Having great-grandparents, grandparents, parents, siblings, and a slew of aunts and cousins who are all Routt graduates leaves no question – Kelli was quite literally born into the Routt family.
Following her time at Routt, Kelli moved to Chicago to study at DePaul University. In 2006 she received a Bachelor of Arts with a double major in Art & Art History (Media Studies: Photography) and Communications (Public Relations & Advertising). While at DePaul she was heavily involved in student leadership. Kelli worked as an Admissions Ambassador, an Orientation Mentor, and also served as a member of her Residence Hall Council. Her education did not stop upon receiving her diploma, however. To this day Kelli regularly attends workshops and seminars to keep up with any changes in her industry. In the last few years she has completed a 10-week course in Product Management from General Assembly and also a Google Analytics certification.
Kelli’s career has varied with a few common threads throughout – branding, design, communication/publications, and improving or building websites. She has worked for a large law firm serving corporate clients around the world, for a national education system, and as a freelance communications and design professional. She now finds herself working as a Product Owner for Managed Services at an automotive tech company called Dealer Inspire (DI). “I collaborate with our various service and product teams to provide easy-to-use marketing solutions for our clients,” says Kelli.
In Kelli’s spare time, she tries to volunteer as much as possible, particularly at her parish. After high school Kelli was repeatedly encouraged by her Grandma (Peggy Langdon ’41) to get involved with a choir or to take up singing lessons. In 2012 Kelli worked up the courage to audition for the music program at Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Chicago’s Lakeview neighborhood and has been a cantor and a member of the Contemporary Choir ever since. “It has been one of the best decisions of my life,” Kelli admits. “I should have listened to Grandma sooner!!” Kelli also spends time volunteering as a part of the parish’s Communio Committee, “whose mission is to revitalize the parish and create a more unified and active community.”
A self-proclaimed champion of the fine arts, Kelli has spent much of her time volunteering for several art-related organizations in the Chicago area. Starting in 2011 she spent a few years running a nonprofit called Creative Pitch, a group that collects art materials from local ad agencies, print houses, and individuals to redistribute them to art teachers and therapists working with Chicago’s underserved youth. Although Kelli no longer works with this group she feels “grateful for the work they are doing to help our city’s youth thrive through the arts.” She has also spent time volunteering with 826Chi, a local nonprofit that tutors high school students and helps with college applications, and WITS (Working in the Schools), a local organization that connects schools and corporations to provide reading tutors for local 3rd graders. Additionally, she has served as a volunteer coordinator for the Lakeview East Festival of the Arts, among helping with other festivals around town.
Kelli loved her time at Routt, so much so that she has a difficult time picking one favorite memory. Her senior year homecoming sticks out to her.
“It was a comedy (tragedy?) of errors through which many lessons were learned. Chief among them - perseverance and flexibility. With a very small crew, we pulled off a successful Homecoming Dance and Coronation – including finding and booking a new DJ the day of. Our Guidance Counselor, Mrs. Strader, and her husband helped us to secure a DJ just hours before the dance. Because of the last-minute nature, the DJ was still setting up when the Coronation was to begin so he could not announce the court. It was determined that I would emcee the court’s entrances from the Principal’s Office over the school-wide PA system. This posed even more logistical challenges as I could not see the Martha Routt Room from there, so Mrs. Hall would run between the landing of the stairs and the office window to give me cues. It obviously wasn’t an ideal situation but, working together, we made it work.”
Other fond memories include “learning to dance in the parking lot and the Martha Routt Room, finding confidence on Sue (Tapscott)’s stage at play practices, reading To Kill a Mockingbird as a class in Mrs. Merris’ classroom, riding around town in the Mimi Mobile with Liz (Doyle Binz ‘01) selling ads for the yearbook, and Coach Gibson, Mrs. Nidey, Rose, and others telling me how much time I had to get to class and whether I could slow down or needed to sprint when I would run through the doors in the morning.”
There are a myriad of ways in which Kelli feels Routt prepared her for the “real world.” Routt Catholic has always prided itself on its English Department, and that is one of the first things Kelli mentioned. Says Kelli, “the stellar English Department set me up for success. My freshman year at DePaul, I was helping peers with their papers. Throughout my professional career, I have been counted on to provide proofreading and copy editing assistance for large and small publications.”
Kelli also made reference to her World Religion class, stating that it helped to open her eyes to the world outside our community – global cultures and different religions. That class helped Kelli start to understand the world and its people through a more global lens. Kelli also appreciated the ability to be involved in so many activities, and in the process learning how to juggle, prioritize, and help wherever needed – practices that she still uses today. Kelli also believes Routt helped her with her confidence and communication through the Theater Department and Speech Teams.
Of all the advantages that attending Routt can provide, Kelli believes that possibly the most valuable advantage is “knowing that, even today, I can call on people in the Routt community if ever I need guidance or support. Our family community is unique. It’s a community that my great-grandparents believed in, my grandparents believed in, my parents believe in, and I believe in. I’m proud to call it home.”
If you know of a Routt graduate who you would like to nominate as a future Alumnus of the Month, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.