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Thursday, February 7, 2008

A model relationship

By Mike Heine/The Week

Tamra Kielty is a teacher, coach, friend and mom.
Family Circle Magazine
Tamra and Morghann Kielty were recognized in Family Circle Magazine for a chance to be the "Model Mother-Daughter" of 2007.

Morghann Kielty is a student, athlete, friend and daughter.

It's a relationship not every mom or daughter has, but the Elkhorn duo makes it work, well enough even that they were recognized by Family Circle magazine.

Tamra, 45, and Morghann, 13, sent in for the chance to be the magazine's "Model Mother-Daughter" of 2007. They came up short in the finals, but each feels the other is still pretty super.

The two have to consciously be aware of their approach toward one another when they're at Elkhorn Area Middle School. Tamra is a gym teacher and substitute teacher there. Morghann is in eighth grade.

"It's kind of a high-profile position to be in because there are all those dynamics," Tamra said. "I take my teaching job extremely seriously. I have very strong beliefs in teaching physical education and empowering young women. With my daughter there, it adds a new dimension.

"Perception is everything, whether it's from other adults or young girls. Morghann and I talk about the importance of how we deal with each other and how we respond to each other."

The magazine picked up on how the two make do with eyes sometimes focused more on them than the lessons taught by Tamra.

"We manage to work it out because both Morghann and I have made it a goal to communicate well, by talking openly and especially by listening to each other," Tamra wrote in the essay to the magazine.

"The biggest lesson I've learned from my mother is to believe in myself no matter what anyone around me is saying," Morghann wrote.

Despite the possible perceptions, Morghann is A-OK with the special relationship the two have.

"We're pretty tight," she says. "It depends what (situation) we're in. If we're at school, she's my teacher. When she's at home, she's my mom. If I'm playing basketball, she's my coach."

Morghann knows that her classmates are watching, not only the Tamra in front of the blackboard or in the huddle, but how the two interact.

"She has me as just another student," Morghann said. "If she treated me any better or worse, we'd hear about it. But I like how it is."

And no matter what the situation is, "I like her best as my mom."

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