For the Kellies, keeping busy at Seminole State is a family affair
Thursday, August 22, 2019
Written by: Emily Hollingshead
Photo: (L-R) Jason, Abby and Dilast Kellie on vacation.
Some people prefer being busy. While the rest of us binge Netflix, they are planning their next day, their next project, their next move. Some people thrive on just a little bit of chaos.
Then there is the Kellie family.
With eight children to care for (yes, you read that right), Jason and Dilast Kellie are already far busier than the average family. Their oldest is graduating from the U.S. Air Force Basic Training while their youngest is just now entering third grade. Then last year they opened their own inbound marketing company, Dittobite. While juggling a new company and a family of 10 is already enough to send most people’s heads spinning, they soon both found themselves enrolling in Seminole State College of Florida.
Not only did they enroll, but they excelled and became active in Pi Lambda, the Phi Theta Kappa honors society chapter at Seminole State. Dilast Kellie became president while Jason Kellie became vice president, and they participated in research and community projects revolving around views on immigration and student retention.
“I’ve taken a lot of what I’ve learned from Seminole State into my personal life as far as community outreach and community volunteering,” said Dilast Kellie. She started volunteering at The Village, transitional housing for at-risk youths or young adults who have phased out of the foster care system. She helps guide them through struggles and encourages them to go to college.
Unfortunately, Dilast had to be admitted to the hospital recently. Due to hospital charges and the remaining balance they had to pay for last semester, they were unsure if Dilast was going to be able to come back to Seminole State for the Fall Term. However, the Foundation for Seminole State intervened and covered her standing invoice as well as the next semester. “This has been a whole whirlwind of amazing support we’ve gotten from the community and the College, and we are really humbled,” said Jason Kellie. “It is really an amazing school, and we plan on continuing to contribute and support and give back to what we’ve gotten. So, we are really thankful and grateful.”
Abby Kellie, the second oldest of the Kellie children, is set to attend Seminole State as well to earn her nursing degree. After watching her aunt graduate from nursing school, Abby Kellie was inspired. “I just remember looking at her and thinking it was so cool and that was someone I wanted to be like,” she said. She was in the biomedical program at University High School where she did dual enrollment and ended up taking college courses at the same time as her parents. “I remember my dad was doing statistics at the same time I was,” she said, “so that was pretty fun.”
With everyone being in school at the same time, juggling family, work and academic responsibilities could be challenging. “Sometimes it was difficult for me because I had homework, I had things with the kids that I had to do, I had the house that I was taking care of and I couldn’t lean too much on Jason because he also had so much to do that it was chaotic at times,” Dilast Kellie recalls. “I think it was helpful more than it was difficult, because we understood each other, and we wanted to help in any way we could.”
They hope it will be slightly less chaotic now that Jason Kellie has graduated and is going to work for Deloitte this September as a solutions associate. “Professionally, my position at Deloitte is a huge accomplishment. When my wife and I first discussed enrolling for classes, I talked about one day working at Deloitte,” he says. Two years later, before he even graduated, he had the chance to interview for a position. Secretly, he doubted he would land the role, but he says the Kellie family doesn’t shy away from new challenges: “I guess it’s difficult for you to know what you are capable of accomplishing until you reach for it.”
The Foundation for Seminole State College, founded in 1968, is a not-for-profit, 501(c)(3) corporation that enhances the College's programs and services through the development and management of private contributions, public grants and community partnerships. For more information, visit www.seminolestate.edu/foundation or email the Foundation directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.About the Seminole State College Alumni Association
Seminole State College Alumni Association: The Seminole State College Alumni Association provides benefits and services for alumni as they continue their lifelong connection with Seminole State College of Florida, providing opportunities for them to network with one another, interact with the student body and support the College. To learn more, visit the Alumni Association website.