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Kennedy to retire jersey of 1st Lt. Tyrell Thompson ’06 Tonight

Ceremony to precede Dec. 11 dedication of renovated gymnasium

He was a soldier and son, teammate and brother, friend and husband.  He was U.S. Army 1st Lt. Tyrell Thompson, the West Point and Kennedy Catholic graduate who died tragically on Aug. 22 after collapsing during a pick-up basketball game.  And he will be remembered at 5:45 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11, just before the Gaels home opener against Mamaroneck High School.

In many ways, the newly renovated Kennedy Catholic gymnasium could be considered the house that the 2006 Kennedy graduate and 2010 West Point graduate Thompson helped build.  A leader of the 2004 New York State and Federation Championship-winning team, Thompson was well-known and well-liked for his amiable personality as much as his smooth jump shot.  Kennedy will formally dedicate its refurbished hardwood and retire Thompson’s No. 21 jersey prior to the 6:15 p.m. tipoff against Mamaroneck.

“Tyrell’s life embodied the Kennedy ideals of Courage and Compassion,” the Rev. Mark Vaillancourt, president and principal of Kennedy Catholic, remarked during a homily at the start of the school year.  “We should let our lives do the same.”

Renovations took place over the summer to replace wooden bleachers with new, retractable seating.  A new center court logo, designed by 1993 graduate Matthew Walker of Walk Design, now adorns the resurfaced hardwood.  The $250,000 capital project is being supported by generous donations from alumni and parents, for whom nameplates will be installed on bleacher rows both in the gym and outdoors on the new synthetic turf fields dedicated last year.

The Thompson family has been invited, as well as Tyrell’s former Kennedy Catholic teammates, for what will undoubtedly be an emotional ceremony in memory of a wonderful alumnus.

“Tyrell was a joy to coach.  He brought his love and passion for the game of basketball and his infectious smile to practice every day,” Army coach Zach Spiker said.  “I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to coach Tyrell during his senior season as he completed his West Point developmental journey.  He was a special young man.”

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