New Beginnings

We say “Farewell” to some of Dowling’s faculty and staff.
New Beginnings
Molly Ryan smiles from her cafeteria window.
Molly Ryan

Mrs. Ryan has been working at Dowling for almost 19 years. Currently the food service director, Ryan has been involved in cooking for football camp every year and has helped with the swim team but has been primarily kept busy by the events in the cafeteria.

Ryan’s favorite thing about Dowling is the kids. She loves watching students grow up and mature into young adults. Ryan also praises Dowling’s ability to instill values of respect and responsibility into students before they graduate saying, “4 years of consistent ‘treat people how you want to be treated’ shows through. There’s a level of respect that I don’t think every kid coming out of high school gets, has, or learns. There is a set of rules and expectations that you follow here and that makes a well-rounded adult.” Ryan’s plans for retirement include traveling to visit her sons in Singapore, Boston, and Chicago, as well as spending more time with her parents.

Molly Ryan smiles from her cafeteria window. (B. Feeney)
Molly Pierce poses with an image of Taylor Swift, one of her favorite female artists.
Molly Pierce

Molly Pierce is an English teacher at Dowling and teaches Advanced English 9, AP Language and Composition, and Studies in Poetry. She has been at Dowling for 8 years and has been a high school English teacher for 25 years. At Dowling, she has been the sophomore class advisor, senior class advisor, knitting club advisor, and is an ACT proctor. She has two plans for after she leaves Dowling: being an animal ambassador teacher at Blank Park Zoo and remote work as an educational consultant for UWorld, which means she’ll be writing scripts for YouTube AP English videos.

She takes to heart Thoreau’s quote “Reinvent yourself every day, make it new, and do it again and again and again.” Pierce’s favorite thing at Dowling is the kids. She loves being part of really passionate and interesting discussions with her students and says the connection with the kids has been really, really special.

Molly Pierce poses with an image of Taylor Swift, one of her favorite female artists. (D. Platt)
Joni Swedenhjelm smiles for the camera.
Joni Swedenhjelm

Joni Swedenhjelm has been at Dowling for a total of 20 years. She is an accounts receivable specialist meaning she works with tuition and tuition assistance. Swedenhjelm has 2 boys who graduated from Dowling in 2005 and 2009. When they were at Dowling, Swedenhjelm was in charge of the Kid’s Wrestling Club and athletic boosters.

Swedenhjelm’s favorite thing about Dowling is the people that she works with. She says they’ve remained lifelong friends and “we’re more like a family than coworkers.” She also appreciates the religious aspect and loves seeing God working through so many kids. Swedenhjelm’s plans for retirement include spending time with her young grandkids and taking care of her parents. She hopes to golf, travel, and garden more during her newfound relaxation time.

Joni Swedenhjelm smiles for the camera. (Bill Swedenhjelm)
Judy Driscoll
Judy Driscoll

Judy Driscoll has been an English teacher at Dowling for 26 years. She currently teaches English 9 and English 10. For a while, Driscoll ran Dowling’s after-school program for kids who were struggling, but couldn’t take on a lot of activities due to her drive. Driscoll lives in Leon, Iowa, which is approximately 1 hour and 10 minutes away from Dowling. She makes this drive every morning and afternoon and has driven 618,800 miles to and from the school over her 26 years here.

Her favorite thing about Dowling is the sense of community and the familial relationship that the students and faculty have with each other, and says “My students are my kids and I’m going to miss those connections.” Her retirement plans include finding something to do part-time and riding in the semi-truck with her husband, and she’s also looking at getting into editorial work or AI.

Peg Conlon smiles for the camera.
Peg Conlon

Peg Conlon has been a science teacher at Dowling for 24 years. In her time here, she has taught various science classes including Advanced Chemistry, Anatomy & Physiology, Advanced Biology, Chemistry, Integrated Science, and Environmental Science. Conlon has also coached freshman-level softball, basketball, and volleyball and held the position of head coach for both volleyball and golf.

Conlon’s favorite thing about Dowling is the kids and her colleagues because she says, “They are good people doing the right things.” Her retirement plans include reading, volunteering, learning to play pickleball, golfing, traveling, and spending time with friends.

Peg Conlon smiles for the camera. (
Kelsey Staudacher smiles for the camera.
Kelsey Staudacher

Kelsey Staudacher has been a math teacher at Dowling for 10 years. She is currently the Mathematics Department Chair while also teaching Pre-Algebra and Advanced Geometry. Staudacher has taught every math class at Dowling except AP Calculus. She has also been the Maroon Crew moderator, NHS moderator, and in charge of the math club, and CSI club.

Her favorite memory at Dowling is when Dowling won a national competition and had a band come in and play. She says, “It was cool to watch the kids have fun, crowd surf, and be goofy in the gym with this band that no one’s ever heard of, and still have a blast.” She plans to become an insurance broker at Symmetry Financial Group. The switch is mostly for her health and she’s eager to work from home and spend time with her cats.

Kelsey Staudacher smiles for the camera. (Kelsey Staudacher)
Leave a Comment
About the Contributor
Delaney Platt
Delaney Platt, Staff Writer
Delaney Platt is a junior at Dowling Catholic High School. She is involved in Student Ambassadors, Students for Life, Youth Leadership Initiative, as well as Special Olympics, Volleyball, and Ut Fidem. In her spare time, Delaney loves reading, binge-watching Netflix, and hanging out with her friends. She is super excited to continue sharing the stories of Dowling Catholic.

Comments (0)

We appreciate your comments! Please keep comments brief and verify your email when prompted. Thank you!
All The Dowling Catholic Post Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *