Mary Clancy is a trailblazer. As the youngest woman to be elected to the Portage Township School Board, Clancy, 21, is a shining example for her community, offering an important perspective by taking office at the youngest age possible on the board. Clancy shared that her role in helping students achieve their dreams is what drives her. After all, it was not long ago that she was chasing her own dreams.
As a Portage graduate, she has the welfare of the schools at heart. Clancy is passionate about issues that will one day affect her son’s education, in the same school system that shaped her own. She wasted no time after her election and soaked in information like a sponge.
“Everyone on the board was extremely helpful when I started,” Clancy said. “It’s been an amazing journey so far, and it’s incredible to see some of the changes in Portage schools since I’ve attended.”
If anyone has Portage pride in their veins, it is the Clancy family. Clancy grew up on Evergreen Avenue, and now lives a few doors down from her childhood home. Both of her parents participated in politics throughout Clancy’s youth, and she saw first-hand the difference a person can make.
“My parents taught me to be respectful, tell the truth, and help others,” Clancy said. “They shaped me into the person I am, and I am very thankful for them.”
Clancy has a school-aged sister and a 1-year-old son. She sought the board position to provide her unique perspective to the community.
“Your heart has to be in the right place for politics,” Clancy said.
Her love of community stretches beyond education; she also is an advocate for health.
“I like being able to serve the community as the Marketing Coordinator for NorthShore Health Center. It’s especially rewarding to serve those who don’t have access to healthcare,” Clancy said. “We do so much for the community beyond doctor appointments.”
Clancy’s knack for words and communications was set ablaze in her journalism class at Portage High School. The class she took sparked a flare for design as well.
“One of my favorite things about my job is that there are so many facets. I like being able to get out there and interact with patients and members of the community. As an insider, I see first-hand the impact we make,” she said.
For Clancy, getting to where she is today had its challenges. She had her son while going to school and working full time. With her strong work ethic and perseverance, she did it all and still managed to graduate early.
“While it was tough, I think it showed me that anything is possible if you work for it,” Clancy said.
When Clancy is not at at work, she enjoys going on adventures with her son and boyfriend in Chicago. Whether it is to visit the museum, attend an outdoor festival, or go shopping downtown, Chicago is her favorite place to explore. Clancy revealed that art plays an important role in her life. She loves to experiment with makeup, using her five overflowing bags to create new looks. Clancy also enjoys music, especially Taylor Swift.
“In the past year and a half, I have seen Taylor Swift live four times. I even got to high-five her once!” Clancy said. “ I know just about every word to every song, and chances are, if you are in the car with me, her latest album Reputation is playing.”