“Everywhere Mary” makes her mark on the Chantilly community

Hayden Dux, Sports Editor

The faux-leather ball arcs through the air, passing through the net with a swishing sound- the ball bounces once, is collected by senior Mary Clougherty and another shot goes up. It does not so much as glance off the metal rim, each shot fluid and rhythmic. This routine-oriented work ethic is what drives Clougherty’s success in every one of her multifaceted pursuits. Though the venue may change, her performance remains consistent, be it a game-winning and-one three pointer against Herndon or impeccably delivered interpretive prose for the state-winning 2016 Speech and Debate team. A Lehigh University basketball commit, active SGA executive and daughter of beloved English teacher and forensics coach Barbara Clougherty, Clougherty epitomizes the Chantilly way of “Community, Diversity, Respect,” with her diverse interests, unbridled school pride and infallible respect for every Charger that calls Chantilly home.

Clougherty, recently garnering both Conference 5 and Region 6A North player of the year honors, has reached a level of athletic excellence that many high school athletes can only dream of attaining. However, a more impressive accomplishment might be her ability to maintain the very selflessness and humility that has both driven her work ethic and defined her personality from a young age.

“Mary is definitely the best player on the team, but she never acts like it,” senior, co-captain for the girls’ basketball team and Clougherty’s longtime friend Grace Rauch said. “She makes sure everyone gets equal opportunities and puts the success of the team before her own success. I think that is why we are successful as a team- because of her selflessness. In her life in general, she is always putting others first.”

Clougherty displays this modesty down to the very syntax of her speech. Redirecting any and all credit onto the supporting cast around her, she rarely uses the pronouns I or me, speaking almost entirely in terms of we or us. While some may suggest this comes from her upbringing, Clougherty’s mother has seen signs of her relentless empathy for years.

“I know all children are different and I understand that there is a nature vs. nurture argument to be had, but I really think she just always has been of this different ilk,” Barbara Clougherty said. “She was different; the neighbors would call her ‘Everywhere Mary’ because even when she was little, just a toddler, she was never afraid to take risks or meet new people. It’s been noticed by strangers, friends, family members, starting when she was very, very young.”

It has been said that those special individuals who reach greatness in their fields are able to make those around them better. While this may be obvious on the hardwood, Clougherty demonstrates this intangible quality of greatness regardless of the medium.

“Mary has never ever been a ‘success at all costs’ type of person- she never leaves a person in her wake,” Barbara Clougherty said. “I think she’s the type of person who gathers people around her and helps them become more successful. This holds true on teams and within our family. She is so caring, and she thinks about other people first and foremost.”

In a modern era characterized by cutthroat competition, insecurity and self-centeredness, Clougherty has managed to remain undeterred in pursuing her innumerable interests. Today, students concern themselves with college application building; AP courses are taken to qualify for better colleges and SAT scores are inflated to receive more recognition. Clougherty’s unabashed study of the subjects and studies that impassion her is a special and uncommon example of education for the right reasons. In fact, curiosity as a learner and passion for new discoveries is what has driven her academic achievement.

“I really like to learn, so I try to challenge myself in the classroom,” Clougherty said. “I generally enjoy each and every one of my subjects, so I take things like AP Statistics and AP Calculus in the same year since they are just subjects that I want to learn. The teachers create a great environment for learning; it’s something I look forward to coming into everyday.”

For her teachers, Clougherty is the ideal student. Passionate about the material, always attentive and active, she dives headfirst into new topics and discussions with unmatched intensity. Even so, in typical Clougherty fashion, she redirects any praise onto the ones around her.

“It’s true that I’m involved in a lot of activities, but I don’t think I can embody the school- its the hundreds of students and staff that give Chantilly its sense of community,” Clougherty said. “I am just honored to represent it.”

Even amidst her high marks, athletic dominance and unanimous admiration from her peers, Clougherty refuses to accept her embodiment of all the Chantilly community strives to attain. Again, she adamantly allocates all credit to her supporting cast. Ironically, however, her utter love for the community around her only furthers her epitomization of the Chantilly way.