Grace Kelly â19 with Volleyball teammates

Finding Her Voice

To succeed on the volleyball court, Grace Kelly ’19 joined the Singing Sinners.

Caleigh Burchfield ’22

St. Lawrence Head Volleyball Coach Shelly Roiger knew she wanted Grace Kelly ’19 to be a part of her program after their first conversation during the recruiting process.

“She spoke with such a high intention and passion that it was hard not to want this high school senior to become a Saint,” remembers Roiger.

Kelly came to St. Lawrence from West Chazy, New York, and her athleticism and bubbly personality made her an ideal addition to the team and the University.

Her drive for perfection, however, resulted in a tough start to her St. Lawrence career.

“I knew I was a perfectionist before coming to St. Lawrence, but the extent of it definitely came out as a college athlete,” Kelly says.

“She might take 30 swings in a practice and she might crush 29 of them and just beat herself up about that one,” Roiger says.

The outside hitter was also struggling with homesickness and uncertainty regarding her academic major, which combined to create a very stressful first year. 

Music had been significant in Kelly’s high school experience, and she felt its absence her first year at St. Lawrence. Cue the Singing Sinners, St. Lawrence’s all-female a cappella group.

“I missed that group feeling of being with people who also love music just as much as I do,” she says. “I went into it not knowing what to expect, but the people were so great that they turned it into this amazing thing for me.”

Surprisingly, the addition of performing in an a cappella group had a big impact on Kelly’s confidence on the volleyball court.

“Sinners definitely helped me play happier,” she says. Kelly, now in her third year with the Singing Sinners, serves as the group’s business director alongside the music director, Bailey Sherwin ’19, a member of the field hockey team.

According to Roiger, Kelly has always played for the sheer joy of the game and has carried that with her in all that she does.

“There’s this thing that I do a lot where I just live in the moment and acknowledge where I am and take it in,” Kelly says with a broad smile. “For example, when we’re performing, I love looking over at everyone and seeing them having such a good time. It’s my favorite thing, and it’s the same for volleyball. When someone makes an awesome play, we all come into the circle and cheer. Seeing everyone with just pure joy on their face is just … it’s the best feeling.”

Now, in what will soon be the second semester of Kelly’s fourth and final year at St. Lawrence, she’s already looking ahead.

“I am so grateful for everything that volleyball and Sinners and 
St. Lawrence has done for me. I am a completely different person than I was my first year,” says Kelly, who finished her volleyball career with 964 kills. “I’m really excited to see how I move on to the next step.”

Caleigh Burchfield is a first-year student from Lakeville, Connecticut. She is a member of the Singing Sinners and plans on majoring in rhetoric/communication arts. 

The Singing Sinners, an all female a cappella group.