Alumni Update: Ashleigh Clare-Kearney, MHS ‘04
Ashleigh Clare-Kearney, who graduated from Manchester High School in 2004, is an attorney for the State of Louisiana House of Representatives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
Ashleigh was born and raised in Manchester by her parents, and with her two sisters, all of whom are graduates of Manchester High School. Eager to encourage positive relationships between all people, Ashleigh became a member of the Multicultural Club and yearbook staff and participated in Race Relations and Peer Counseling while attending MHS.
Ashleigh received a full gymnastics scholarship to Louisiana State University (LSU) and earned a bachelor’s degree in English. During her career at LSU, she became a five-time first-team All American. In 2008, Ashleigh became the second gymnast to be crowned the SEC All-Around Champion and also took home the SEC Gymnast of the Year award. In 2009, she became the first gymnast in LSU history to win multiple national championships. She captured the 2009 Floor and Vault NCAA National Championship. Ashleigh currently holds the school record for the most individual titles, winning 114 titles in her career.
Ashleigh demonstrated excellence and leadership in academics as well as competition as she was recognized as a Scholastic All-American in 2008 and 2009 and was also a two-time SEC Academic Honor Roll Member. Ashleigh earned her master’s degree in Sport Management at LSU in 2010 and earned her law degree from Southern University Law Center, in Baton Rouge, in 2013.
An active member in the local community, Ashleigh was twice recognized as a member of the SEC Community Service Team and also received the Huel D. Perkins Leadership Award at LSU. Because of her prowess in the gym, in the classroom and in the community, Ashleigh became the first LSU student-athlete to earn the distinction as an NCAA Woman of the Year Finalist in 2009.
Ashleigh is now an Attorney for the House of Representatives’ Transportation, Highways and Public Works Committee. Ashleigh serves as the volunteer assistant coach for LSU Gymnastics where she assists in coaching all four events and handles all choreography. She also teaches Family Law to first year law students at Southern University Law Center.
Ashleigh says she was very fortunate to have been raised in a household where education was stressed daily. (Her mother, Diane, has a doctoral degree and is director of Manchester Adult and Continuing Education). She adds that the teachers and administrators at MHS provided the additional positive reinforcement she needed to be successful as a student at MHS. “They diversely opened my eyes to the importance of communicating effectively, managing inevitable adversity and capitalizing on opportunities presented,” she says.
One of Ashleigh’s favorite classes at MHS was Mrs. Cecchini’s English class. “Mrs. Cecchini had a remarkable way of connecting with each of her students. She was able to impart information and knowledge effectively while keeping the class engaged, which is not an easy task when you’re dealing with a high-spirited group of teenagers.”
Words of Wisdom:
“As you advance on this journey called life you may come across people who doubt your abilities. You will inevitably stumble or hit roadblocks, but those people and those situations will not define you unless you let them. Always take advantage of an opportunity to improve self, become comfortable with being uncomfortable, rise above criticism and use adversity as a learning tool for growth.”