Cougars Celebrate 50th Commencement

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The last graduating class born in the 20th century has left the Cougar den of Kennedy High School.

“For 50 years, John F. Kennedy has forged a tradition of excellence based on the core values of scholarship, integrity and service,” said Assistant Principal Gerard Owenburg. “For five decades Kennedy’s graduating seniors have entered the next phase of life having experienced an academic program of the highest standards and a school community that focuses on helping students understand the value of making meaningful contributions in our world.”

Class President Phallan Grossman reminded classmates that it wouldn’t be popularity that they think of when reflecting on their time at Kennedy.
“But by the relationships we forged, how we treated each other and most importantly, the memories that we made,” she said.

In her valedictorian speech, Alixandra Wilens stressed the importance of perseverance as she and fellow classmates embark on this next chapter of their lives.

“We have the ability to be unique. I believe that life gives us the potential for happiness but also that such joy is achieved only after a barrier is broken down. That satisfaction comes through hard work and commitment.”

Salutatorian Rebecca Stekol sought to inspire her classmates in her speech.

“Always seek to learn, to constantly search for new ways to broaden your mind and open your heart, create a path that expands and that twists in different directions as you discover new interests that captivate you. Be spontaneous but also be driven.”

Lastly, board trustee Gina Piskin, also the mother of a Class of 2017 graduate, spoke personally of the relationships her son has made throughout the years.

“You are caring, generous, spirited individuals who have already made your mark on the world in so many ways and mostly likely will continue to do so.”