by Lark Breen
Junior Brenden Kelly, also known colloquially as BK, Brenda, Brendynamite, or Brendog, is a family-loving, beauty-appreciating, guitar-playing explorer of the world.
Although Kelly has played volleyball for four years and enjoys skateboarding with friends, his favorite pastime is playing guitar. Guitar, and music in general, is known to be a therapeutic de-stressor, but Kelly also cites the instrument as important to him because “it’s the one thing I’ve always felt I could be creative with.” Kelly’s songwriting style could be most accurately compared to that of Jack Johnson, but he has yet to share his music with a crowd. Typically, he only performs for family and sometimes friends because he doesn’t feel drawn to a bigger audience, but, he adds, “maybe that will change. Hopefully.”
Kelly’s comfort in playing for his family reflects his tightknit relationship with them. Kelly’s family consists of his mom, dad, and sister as well as his grandma, grandpa, aunt, uncle, and two cousins who all live in town. On Tuesdays, the family connects for dinner at Kelly’s grandma’s house, and they love going on family excursions like cruises to Mexico and Alaska or the occasional West Coast roadtrip.
Every Fourth of July, Kelly and his family and friends go to Benbow, an RV park in Northern California, to play golf, hang out in the river, play games, and spend quality time together. Kelly fondly recalls the yearly tradition that unfortunately ended somewhat recently as one of his happiest memories because it instilled in him “a sense of belonging with all the people I’ve ever loved there, just watching the fireworks.”
This summer, Kelly and his family are heading off the continent, which will be a first for Kelly. The itinerary includes a cruise of the Greek Islands, as well as a tour of Italy, with stops in Rome, Pompeii, and a number of smaller towns. “I’m really excited to expand my horizons and see what it’s like going to a new place,” Kelly shares.
An entirely different place Kelly visited this year with the same hope of seeing another side of the world and understanding more about how people in other places live is Tijuana. Kelly joined the flock of students and adults on the annual Mexico house building trip this past spring break, and found the experience of discovering a new community eye-opening.
Kelly likes to see the world on a local as well as an international scale, as he frequently explores the hills surrounding Los Gatos. He enjoys “just spending the day outside, doing something where you can open your mind and experience a full life of looking at beauty all over the world.” His favorite spot to visit is Donkey Hill due to its proximity to his grandma’s house and the fact he has frequented the spot since he was five. Kelly says Donkey Hill “symbolizes the bond between my family and me because they would always take me out there and show me that this is where we live, and I can see everywhere I grew up, all in one picture.”
Kelly embodies easygoingness and is wholly focused on the journey rather than the destination. His friendliness combined with his positive outlook make him a fast friend. Kelly plans “to just keep working hard,” recognizing, however, that “wherever you end up, it’s okay.”