Our newest employee is a familiar face to Melrose residents: Mike Kent, a 2005 graduate of Melrose High School, is joining the Recreation Department as a recreation leader, helping Recreation Director Frank Olivieri run the city’s recreation programs.
Mike is one of five brothers, and he played football and baseball at Melrose High School. He is the grandson of Mary Foley, the crossing guard who died pushing children away from a speeding car, for whom Mary Foley Park is named.
Mike studied political science at Merrimack College, where he also played football, and he coaches freshman football and baseball at Melrose High School as well as working as a substitute teacher. He has also worked as an EMT.
Why did you study political science?
I wanted to get involved in some type of government, mostly local government. It was something that interested me going into college. I wanted to stay within the community and really see what you do first hand.
How will that help you in this job?
It is basically knowing the ins and out of government and working with the different commissions like the Park Commission. My classes were a lot of those kinds of forums, sitting in on mock senate hearings and things like that. I know it’s not quite the same, but I feel comfortable in those positions.
Why did you apply for this position?
The main thing that I loved about it is that I’m here in Melrose. I know all the families that I deal with: I am coaching their kids, my brother is coaching at the middle school, we are both involved with youth in community. I think we are good kids, so I think we can pass on the right message to our youth.
What will you be doing as Recreation Leader?
The summer programs start on June 25, and I will be overseeing the summer staff. Frank and I will be working together on registration and coming up with the programs and camp for the summer. When winter comes around, I will be involved in all the basketball programs, the MBA, the middle school travel team. Starting in September, Frank and I will be running the teen center on Friday nights.
What’s your favorite part of the job so far?
The people that you work with. It’s face to face, communicating, not sitting in front of a screen all day or in a cubicle. You are answering e-mails, but you have people walking in constantly, so you’re talking to them, getting to know them. And when there are programs going on, you are out in the field, so it’s a mix of everything. not just the same thing over and over.
Are you still active in sports?
I play pickup basketball, and I’m playing some slow pitch softball. When football and baseball are around I’m extremely active with both those sports. I’m still young enough I can run routs with the kids and throw passes.