During Catholic Schools Week this year, students at St. Christina School learned how to make their dreams a reality with the help of Katie Quick, a graduate of Mother McAuley High School who has parlayed her experience as a teacher and singer into a motivational speaking campaign.
Quick and her friend Ryan Chesla, a former college and professional football player, hope to bring their Fingertips Program to a million school children with a tour starting this spring. She has been interviewed on national television shows and has several music videos available on YouTube.
In addition to her experience in education and the music business, Quick has a master’s degree in counseling, with an emphasis on children and adolescents.
The program combines popular music and Quick’s original songs with spoken segments, as well opportunities for students of get up and dance and sing. It comes with a serious message about the importance of not only believing in yourself, but having courage and perseverance as well.
Before dreams become reality, Chesla told students at St. Christina, "The journey’s going to be really hard. There’s going to be a lot of ups and downs."
Mistakes come with the territory, Quick said.
"If you don’t try, you’re not going to mess up," she said. "But you’re not going to reach your dream either."
Achieving dreams also takes hard work, Chesla said, calling on his experience playing football.
"When you guys are watching the game, that’s the off day for us," said Chesla, who left professional football after being diagnosed with epilepsy. He now is a certified strength and conditioning coach. "The real work is on the practice field. There are times you are going to work so hard you want to quit."
In the end, Quick told students at St. Christina, the most important step to achieving your dreams is love: loving yourself and loving others.
That means understanding and talking about your feelings, doing what you must to care for yourself and being yourself and allowing others to be themselves, even if that means being different.
"Being different from others is OK," Quick said. "We think being weird is so cool, because it means you have the courage to be different."
More important, she told the students, is how they treat others.
"The way you treat other people is going to show the world who you are," she said. "Being kind is a choice, and every time you speak to someone you have that choice."
The words of wisdom are interspersed with inspirational anthems such as Katy Perry’s "Roar" and Rachel Platten’s "Fight Song."
Quick, who attended Most Holy Redeemer School in Evergreen Park and graduated from Mother McAuley in 2000, taught in Chicago Public Schools before heading to Nashville, Tennessee, to work in the music business. She started the Fingertips Program on her own before moving back to Chicago and teaming up with Chesla.
"I love speaking here because Catholic schools had such a big role in developing my values and developing a belief in myself," Quick said.
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