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“GOOD MORNING, SUNRISE!” – By Kelsey Baron, ’17


“GOOD MORNING, SUNRISE!”…

…shouted approximately 800 rising high school seniors at 5:30 in the morning. A normal high schooler wouldn’t want to be awake at 5:30am, but this group was different. These 800 candidates were not only awake, but motivated and excited for the hour-and-a-half of sunrise PT (physical training) that was about to begin. I and one other of my Kennedy classmates, Nick Goebelbecker, had the privilege to be among those 800 high schoolers, who were invited to attend The United States Naval Academy Summer Seminar, NASS. It is a week long immersive experience into life as a Naval Academy Midshipman. The program’s acceptance is even more competitive than getting accepted into the Naval Academy itself. During my week spent at the Academy, PT was part of our morning routine just about everyday. We would then move onto tours and intramural sports, classes, or sea trials, depending on the day.

 Echo company, 2nd platoon, 1st Squad

We call ourselves “Echo Elite”

Each candidate was placed in a Company, Platoon, and Squad. This was how most of our daily activities were organized. I was a proud member of Echo company, 2nd platoon, 1st squad.(Easy day Echo!) During the week I came to have great pride in Echo-2-1, and grew very close with the new friends I made, especially those in my squad. We called ourselves Echo Elite, and supported each other throughout the seminar. We came from all over the U.S.; from New Jersey to Texas to California. I’m still close with members of my squad, we share application experiences and advice with each other. At meal times we ate with our squad. Although it was challenging with about 900 people talking at once, we managed to get to know each other during meal times and enjoyed some USNA traditions. One such tradition was opening a new jar of peanut butter by standing on your chair, yelling “Beat Army!!” and smashing the jar on your head so that the seal popped off, followed by a round of applause from the rest of the dining hall. During the latter half of the week, we attended Naval Academy classes taught by Academy professors. From discussing military scenarios and what the right decision would be when placed in them, to getting soaked learning how to patch a leaking pipe, all learning was hands on.

Wet, dirty push-ups during NASS

NASS Students participate in “Wet and Sandy”

One of my favorite parts of NASS was our day of Sea Trials. Sea Trials is a 13 hour experience that plebes (freshman) at the academy complete towards the end of their first year. We had a mini version of sea trials that was about 8 hours long, and consisted of four phases. My favorite part was “wet and sandy”, during which we jumped in the Severn River, fully clothed, then rolled around in the muddy sand and proceeded to do push ups and team building exercises. It was challenging, cold, and slightly disgusting; but also, exhilarating, fun, and an experience I will never have anywhere else.

End of Junior Year Experience at USNA

End of Junior Year Experience at USNA

During NASS we attended many briefs about everything from academics at the Academy, to ethics, to job opportunities that would be available after graduation. My favorite brief was presented by a woman named Ryan Manion. She spoke of her brother, Travis Manion, a Navy seal who made the ultimate sacrifice when hit by enemy sniper fire while aiding and drawing fire away from his wounded comrades. Travis’ actions that day allowed every other member of his patrol to survive the ambush. His sister, Ryan, and their mother created the Travis Manion Foundation in his honor. Its purpose is to serve veterans, remember the fallen, and inspire the next generation to live in a way that honors those who fought for their freedom. When asked why he was willing to go out on another deployment, Travis Manion answered, “If not me, then who?” Ms. Manion challenged all of us attending NASS to live out this idea and now, I want to pass this challenge on to you as well.

The United States Naval Academy Summer Seminar was one of the best weeks of my life. I highly urge high school juniors to consider applying for NASS and the Naval Academy itself. NASS is a fantastic opportunity, and an experience like no other. It will challenge you, push you farther than you ever thought you would go, and reward you in ways you can’t even imagine. You will form friendships that will last across the country and learn lessons about character and morals that will stay with you throughout your life. I could not be more grateful for my week spent at the Academy. It is my dream to attend the Naval Academy, graduate as a part of the class of 2021, and to serve in our nation’s Navy. After all, “If not me, then who?”.

 

To learn more about NASS at the United States Naval Academy, click here!

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Ribbon Cutting for the New Track: By Chiara Calov ’18

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Father Vaillancourt Cuts the Ribbon on the New Track

The Kennedy Catholic community came together at the first K-Fest celebration on the weekend of April 23rd, to celebrate two days of social events and sports games. To kick off the jamboree, Father Vaillancourt, along with various students, parents, and family members of Kennedy, cut the ribbon to open the newly-renovated, state-of-the-art, 400-meter track. At 7 am, crowds joined to walk a mile around the track, in honor of Sister Barbara. During the week prior to K-fest, Kennedy students received monetary pledges to raise donations that will go towards a restoration of the prayer Grotto in the front of the Kennedy property. The Grotto will also be in recognition and commemoration of Sister Barbara.

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Senior Rebecca O’Callaghan passes the baton to Sister Janet

The opening of this new track symbolizes an era of progress within Kennedy Catholic. From the first track team to the current one, led by senior captains Kenny Brown and Rebecca O’Callaghan, the spirit and passion for running has been kept alive. Not only will the track team have the opportunity to feel at home with their gorgeous facility, but other sports team athletes will have the ability to make use of the area. The track is simply another great addition to the beautiful Kennedy campus, and a visual depicting the unity and contributions of the Kennedy Catholic population.

Thank you to all those who assisted in the coming-to of this track, and to those who came out to the honorary opening and walk-a-thon.

To see more pictures, visit our Online Gallery. Pictures are also available for download for a period of time on our PIXIESET account.

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Presidential Primary Comes to Kennedy: by Katie Kennon ‘17

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The “Candidates” of the Republican Party

On Thursday, April 28th, the Young Republicans Club and the Debate Club teamed up to host a mock GOP presidential candidate debate. Kenny Brown acted as Ted Cruz, Ostap Pryjdun stood as Donald Trump and Daniel Dudek posed as John Kasich. Members of the KCHS Young Republicans Club acted as moderators and asked the “candidates” tough questions about their positions on key issues such as abortion, jobs, and homeland security. The “candidates” answered the questions as the real candidates would, with the school community as their audience.

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The moderators look on as the “candidates” express their views

The real candidates have not debated in over a month. With the lacking of a major media debate, Kennedy’s debate served to keep our community knowledgeable and enabled our students to get more involved in the election process. Seeing our classmates act as politicians also made the debate more interesting. Students were able to watch the debate live, during homeroom in the auditorium. Then, the following day, students casted their primary votes via the iPad app, ExamSoft.

The current three Republican candidates have attracted all types of voters. Many voters are newly converted Republicans, since this primary consists of candidates that are very different from those in past presidential elections. For instance, Donald Trump has been a business man all his life whereas Ted Cruz is a “Tea Party” favorite. Due to this sharp difference in candidates, the students were excited to see which candidate’s views they aligned with.

“to increase students’ awareness of the issues that matter in our lives…”

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Mr. Santini thanks the members of the mock debate

The goal of hosting the debate, as stated by Mr. Santini, the moderator of the Young Republicans Club, was “to increase students’ awareness of the issues that matter in our lives, and to show students the importance of being involved and acting as responsible citizens. How the USA uses our military, for example, will affect how our students will be called upon in the future to fight against evils such as ISIS. Also, how the country feels about abortion for example, could result in changes in law that are more in line with what Catholics believe. Students need to know that because as they get older, these issues will affect them more directly. They are being discussed in the Presidential debates now, and it is a good time for students to hear about them.

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The video was live-streamed into the classrooms and is available on our YouTube channel.

Mr. Santini along with Mrs McGown, who is the moderator for the Debate Club, has shared that the Young Republicans Club and Debate Club plan to have another mock debate in the fall, featuring both the Republican candidate as well as the Democratic candidate. After that, a school-wide mock Presidential election will offer students a chance to vote for the same candidates that all of America will vote for on November 8th. These debates are sure to prompt students to become more involved in politics in the future.

 

If you are interested in seeing more pictures from the debate, please visit our Gallery of Images!

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Boys lacrosse looks to continue their winning ways: by Nico Quartironi ’17

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Team Captains – The Seniors – 2016 Lax

Spring has officially arrived bringing nice weather, wearing of school polos and most importantly, the start of another promising season for the Kennedy Catholic Men’s Lacrosse Team. Despite having lost “the core four” group of talented seniors, who led last year’s team to an outstanding and extremely thrilling New York Class A State Championship Title, this year’s team is looking to step up and follow in the footsteps of the 2015 team.

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Number 14 carries the ball down field looking to pass.

“Buy into the package.” A phrase often spoken by the one of the team’s head coaches Vin Savastano, might be a major key for unlocking success in these upcoming months. The essential aspect of victory is pulling everyone’s individual strengths together to create an unstoppable army. Lacrosse is a sport defined by teamwork and cooperation. This allows for great plays to be executed —whether it be a save by the goalie which is then dumped off to a freshman midfielder who then passes it to a senior captain for a goal, which is what exactly occurred during the final 2.9 seconds of last year’s City Championship match, or whether it be a simple communication on defense to shut down the opposing team. This year’s team  has already seen great improvements, including cohesiveness and a strong, “family-like” bond which will only mature further as the season progresses.

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Defensiveman, number 1, looks to pass the ball downfield.

This season, there are some major match-ups that stand out to our team. Archbishop Stepinac has been a constant rival of Kennedy, each and every year, and after an electrifying victory on our home turf last season, the clash between the teams is intense. Another opponent that the entire Kennedy community is sure to anticipate is St. Mary’s of Long Island. Last time the boys played this team was when they defeated them 15-1 in the epic State Championship Game last year. However the zenith of the season, quite possibly the most crucial game of the fifteen game schedule, will be Saturday April 30th, when Kennedy’s army takes on their archenemy and most significant adversary, Monsignor Farrell of Staten Island. The battlefront of the contending teams will be played on the KCHS home turf and will be a critical factor for the forthcoming postseason. It will also act as a benchmark to determine the level of growth, skill, and teamwork which the team has developed each and every day of the season. A win against Farrell will put the Kennedy team on track for yet another championship title.

Number 36 looks to score on the opposing team

With the leadership of captains Alex Souza (Attack), Al Cantarella (Defense), Brian Devey (Goalie), and Nico Quartironi (Defense) combined with the supervision and coaching of the Savastano brothers and assistant James Wilson, each player is sure to work hard as a powerful, unified team. Another promising season looks upon the Kennedy Catholic Lacrosse Team, a season that will hopefully end with the raising of another State Championship plaque.

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Roger and Hammerstein’s “Cinderella”: by Hannah Langley ‘17

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The Prince rides the horse.

I have been in Kennedy’s theater program for three years now, and I must say that this year was an extremely challenging, yet truly rewarding experience. There were some good times, there were some bad times and there were a lot of stressful times. However, we all came together – cast, crew, costumes, orchestra – to put on a successful Cinderella.

The show was double casted this year, which proved to be somewhat difficult at times. However, it also made rehearsals more enjoyable since there were more people to share the experience with. Also, as one of the leads, it was entertaining to watch the other cast perform and to see my character portrayed on stage by someone else. The show brought many of us together, created many friendships, and made everyone grow a lot closer. This was especially true for the girls who joined the musical from Good Counsel Academy. Monica McStay, who played Madame on the Thursday and Saturday shows, said that switching schools her senior year was hard, but she is glad that she did the show at Kennedy. She said, “Joining the drama club introduced me to so many friendly and talented people. I am grateful for the experience and the friends I have made!

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Cinderella looks on.

As many of the cast members can attest to, the show was not always fun and games. It was actually extremely stressful most of the time, and we all had to work hard to put on a show we could be proud of. Monica Gayanelo, who played Marie (the fairy godmother) on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday, stated, “This show taught me that anything really is possible. Making dreams come true with the wave of a magic wand taught me… any dream can become reality with a little faith in yourself.” I think this show really did teach us all that when we work together, we can make anything happen.

This year’s show was more than just a performance. It was a tribute. Sister Barbara passed away on the same day as our Friday performance. Hearing the news after the show as a community was tragic. Everyone in that auditorium felt the heartbreak and loss. The Saturday and Sunday shows were in tribute to her, being as she dedicated so much of her life to all of us, especially last year in The Sound of Music. As hard as the news was, it brought us all closer together, and created an inseparable bond among everyone involved in the show. Genny Glembotzky, who not only performed in a number of roles, but also filled the responsibility of assistant director, gave a remark regarding Sister Barbara’s passing, “Hearing the news… was very difficult for our cast, but it was really beautiful to see everyone come together, be there for each other, and remember her like they did.” As Genny said, we all came together to remember Sister Barbara as the amazing woman she was and to honor the amazing legacy she has set for our community. We all know that she was with us during the shows, watching from the best seat in the house.

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The wicked stepmother.

I would not have traded my Cinderella experience for anything else. I have made friendships and bonds with so many people that I hope to never lose. Performing as Charlotte, the annoying, mean stepsister (on Thursday and Saturday nights) was a lot of fun, and gave me the freedom to be someone completely different from myself. As a quick remark, I want to thank my cast – Kelsey Baron, Joe Gullotta, Jillian Flynn, Monica McStay, Dominic Basilone, Dylan Berry and Rose Grosskopf – for being absolutely amazing and for making me feel so comfortable performing on stage with all of you. I also want to give a shout out to the other cast – Kayla Campise, Nicholas DiGrandi, Amanda Astrologo, Meghan Reilly, Monica Gayanelo, and Caroline King. Rehearsals with everyone were so much fun, and I’m so glad we all became such good friends. I’ll never forget this experience and the good times we enjoyed (when we weren’t suffering from illness or stressing out). We will all miss the seniors from this year, but we know that they will go on to do even greater things.

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Cinderella dances with her prince.

Just when the show seemed “impossible,” we pushed on, and in the end it was a success. The show took a lot of hard work, dedication, and perseverance from all, but it was all worth it. I am proud to say I was a part of Cinderella. Hopefully the audience had “a lovely night” at our performances.

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Serving the Community: by Rebecca O’Callaghan ’16 & Layne Smith ’16

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Student Government stands with a member a of United for the Troops. SG collected food and other gifts for the troops serving overseas.

Courage and compassion. These two attributes are deeply woven into all that  Kennedy Catholic does, especially when it comes to serving the community. Kennedy’s giving spirit is felt by many different organizations and people, both locally and overseas.

This past Christmas season, the Student Council ran two collection drives for local charities. The first was for United for the Troops, a community organization based out of Shrub Oak, NY  that sends care packages to troops stationed overseas with the goal of “bringing a little comfort to our troops.” It is a Kennedy Catholic tradition to assist this organization each winter and this year the drive collected over 750 clothing, toiletry and food items to support the soldiers. The second drive ran by the Student Council was a food drive for Our Lady of the Assumption in Peekskill, NY. Our Lady of the Assumption then donated our food to nearby food pantries. As a community, our school collected over 1,000 food items. By working in conjunction with the Peekskill parish, Kennedy was able to bring a little more joy to the Christmas season.

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The winning team at this year’s (and final) Maureen’s Hoop for Hope.

The Play Ball club at Kennedy Catholic also hosted a drive this past December. The club was created by seniors Alexander Morgante and Esteban Ramirez with the goal of collecting slightly used sports equipment to donate to unprivileged children in Connecticut. The two seniors spearheaded the club because of the large role that athletics has played in their own childhoods. They wanted to give the same opportunities which they had, to less fortunate children. With the help of the Kennedy Catholic student body, they were able to complete their first equipment drive and look forward to future collections. 

The second annual children’s hospital toy drive was also ran this past winter. Seniors Jennifer Goldfarb, Rebecca O’Callaghan and Christina Rowland started the first toy drive last year and with the Kennedy Catholic community’s overwhelming support, they were able to successfully complete another drive. What started off as a 300 toy goal for one hospital turned into over 700 toys which were able to be shared between both Maria Ferari and Blythedale Children’s Hospitals as well as the Mustard Seed Migrant Ministry in Goshen, NY. The representatives at the hospitals were pleasantly surprised and very appreciative of the generous donations. The hospitals could not fit the numerous amount of toys into their collection bins which allowed the remaining toys to be donated to Mustard Seed, with Sister Barbara’s assistance. Kennedy Catholic’s overwhelming response to the toy drive makes the three senior girls confident that the toy drive will continue for many years.

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Seniors Jennifer Goldfarb, Rebecca O’Callaghan and Christina Rowland stand next to the mountain of toys they collected for the children’s hospital.

For the ninth year in a row, Kennedy Catholic hosted the annual Hoops for Hope basketball tournament, held in honor of Maureen McAvoy, a member of the class of 2006 who passed away in 2007 after a brave battle with brain cancer. Championed by her sister and class of 2007 graduate Siobhan McAvoy, a myriad of participators, including two teams of current Kennedy seniors, as well as many alumni, faculty, family, and friends, took part in a 5-on-5 tournament to raise money and awareness for childhood cancer. All of the proceeds from the afternoon went to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Brain Cancer Research Center. While 2015 was a culmination of a nine year run for Maureen’s Hoops for Hope, it was a tremendous celebration of Maureen’s life and the legacy she has left with her friends, family, and the Kennedy Catholic community. 

Also during the month of December was our annual blood drive, one of Kennedy’s most successful charitable events to date. Organized by the Student Council, Mrs. Normile, and the New York Blood Center, there was a fantastic turnout of 70 participants, comprised of not only Kennedy Catholic students, but all aspects of the community from faculty to parents. While one of the concerns for any potential donor, especially students, is the risk associated with giving blood, Kennedy Catholic senior and first time donor, Valerie Sedano, said “The thought that my donation could truly help someone allowed me to move past the initial anxiety of giving blood. In my opinion, donating blood made a difference in my life. I overcame a fear, and now I’m currently waiting to be place on a bone marrow donor list”. One of the proponents of the drive, Mrs. Normile talked of how beneficial it is “to get the Kennedy juniors and seniors comfortable and happy to donate at such a young age, allowing them to become lifelong blood donors well into their later years of life”. So many people need blood, whether it be cancer patients, new mothers, victims of car accidents, just to name a few. Giving blood is one of the most unique and wondrous types of service and charity, in that it can be the gift of life.

If there is one thing that is prided above all else at Kennedy Catholic, especially during this paramount Golden Jubilee year, it is a commitment to service. The many drives, events, and widespread passion and participation for this service is something that sets Kennedy apart and is most certainly a legacy to be proud of. Such service spans not only within Kennedy, but how we, as students and a collective school, can affect the greater community and the world. 

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Masterpieces of the Spring Art Show: By Tianyi (Jack) Yuan ’16

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Student art from the 2016 Art Show

The Kennedy Art Show was displayed during production week of Cinderella. Each opus was born from our fellow students’ enthusiasm and appreciation of beauty. The pieces of art transmitted verses from the students’ innermost selves. The artists used pigments that varied with the mood of their pieces.  Under the guidance of Mrs. Glembotzky in the art studio, they have been prepared to compose the finest paintings and drawings with deep meanings. With this mentality, the work they brought out of their studio, also came out of their hearts. Therefore, the art show proved to be a touching event for artists and non-artists alike. All of you that had the chance to see these students’ work should have appreciated the pieces and felt the enjoyment of interpreting the authors’ mental work. I am compelled to tell the artists that their talents are deeply appreciated and that their work brought even more enjoyment to the wonderful shows of CinderellaTheir art represented words in their hearts which could not be formed into dialogues or written documents. I hope the senior artists continue their work outside of Kennedy and that the underclassmen continue to progress in the art program. I also hope that audiences continue to see the value of art and maintain their appreciation of it.  Myself and many others are eagerly anticipating next year’s Kennedy Art Show.

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A view of the art displayed during the 2016 Spring Art Show

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Pencil art displayed at the 2016 Spring Art Show

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Girls Lacrosse Starts 2016 Season Off on the Right Foot: By Rebecca O’Callaghan ’16

Coach Matthew Tieber has led the ladies to a 6-0 start for the 2016 season.

Coach Matthew Tieber has led the ladies to a 6-0 start for the 2016 season.

Kennedy Catholic Girls Lacrosse is starting off to what is sure to be an exciting season. For the first time in the New York Catholic High School Athletic Association‘s history, there is a female lacrosse league. The league consists of eight teams and next year will expand to include the Archdiocese of Brooklyn and Queens. In seasons past, Kennedy girls lacrosse could only participate in tournaments or play friendlies, but this year they have the chance to win titles. The Kennedy Gaels are eager to make the most out of this new opportunity and have set their standards high. Under the leadership of senior captains, Hannah Callaghan, Meghan Dooley, Deirdre Ledley, and Gabriella Vlattas, the team hopes to spearhead a legacy of Kennedy Catholic girls lacrosse with this first season in the league. Coach Matthew Tieber helped form the league and has also set high aspirations for their season. He has stacked the team’s schedule with many crossover  games against teams in Section 1 and the NYSAIS to keep the team ready for tough competition. They are approaching the season focused, determined and aren’t taking anything for granted. This team is certainly one to watch as they begin their journey this spring.

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Senior Gabrielle Vlattas runs after the ball to in the Gaels win over Cardinal Spellman

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The Future is Bright for Track and Field: By Rebecca O’Callaghan ’17

The Kennedy Catholic track and field team’s spring season is looking bright. With the addition of their newly renovated, 400 meter track, they are eagerly working hard to reach their new season goals. Under the leadership of senior captains Kenny Brown and Rebecca O’Callaghan, the team aims to improve their times, jumps and win medals in their events. They started off strong at the Iona Prep Developmental and Tusker Twilight Invitational with medals being won by junior Deirdre Kokasko and freshman Kayla Curtin in the triple jump and long jump. Medals were also received by freshman Janine Gayanelo in the discus throw and senior Rebecca O’Callaghan in the 400 and 200 meter dashes. Returning upperclassmen Silvana Acierno, Catherine Brennan and Nick Goebelbecker have also performed well in the beginning meets. With the team being predominantly made up of underclassmen, it is exciting to see what the future holds.  Sophomore Michael L’abbate and freshman Trish Curtin are working hard on improving their miles and are sure to be key components of the team. The assortment of talents on the team has also allowed for great relay teams. Many members of the team have their eyes set on setting new personal records and qualifying for States. The energy throughout the team is definitely one of determination and excitement. Overall, the Kennedy Catholic Gaels are happy that the spring season is upon them and are practicing hard in anticipation for their CHSAA championships in May.

 

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How to Prepare for the College Fair and Find the Right Fit: By Maggie Kennon ’17

What do Berkeley College, Rochester Institute of Technology, SUNY Cobleskill, University of Tampa, and Villanova University have in common? They will all be at the Kennedy Catholic college fair this Thursday! This is an amazing opportunity for sophomores and juniors to get a first impression of many schools. In total, forty-six schools will be in attendance to answer all of the students’ questions. Some of the attending  schools are even located as far away as California and Florida! With the right tips and guidance, students will be able to make the most out of this great opportunity.

We, as a school, really appreciate all that our guidance team does for us as we work our way through the steps of our college search. I personally found Mrs. Gerrity’s email, “College Fair Tips for Students” very helpful and suggest that my fellow classmates also read it. In addition to Mrs. Black and Mrs. Gerrity’s pointers, here are some other things to consider:
  • Students should try to research some of the colleges before going to the college fair. This can be done easily by looking at their website. It may also help you form questions to ask yourself, such as:
  • Which schools offer the majors you are interested in?
  • Do you know if you want a large or small school?  City campus or something in the country?  -Does the school have the sports you are interested? How about clubs?
  • Do you want to stay close to New York, a train ride away or are you thinking of going farther away from home? California perhaps?
  • Is it important to you that the school is Catholic? Did you check out their Newman society or club? There are close to 200 Catholic colleges and universities in the USA. Some are Franciscan, others are Jesuit, Dominican, Augustinian, Congregation of Holy Cross or Diocese run.
In addition to asking yourself many questions, be sure to ask the college representatives questions. One great topic  to ask the reps about is the retention rate, which is the percentage of freshmen that return for their sophomore year. This can help indicate if the students are happy at that school. Always take the materials offered by the colleges, being as there may not be enough time to speak to each college rep individually. It also gives you something to review after the fair.
 
Things to consider after the Fair:
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Which colleges were memorable for you? Jot down some notes as to why.
  • Organize the colleges that were interesting and prepare to learn more information about them. You should sign up for their mailing list. Perhaps you may even want to plan a visit to the school.
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If you have not done so already, make a file for all your college information. It does not have to be fancy, an old copy paper box will do, but keep things in one place so you can refer back to them. Don’t forget, you will be involved in this college search next year too.
Applying for college is an intimidating task. However, it is not impossible, the current seniors have already started to wear sweatshirts of the school they will be attending, proving that this task is well worth the effort. In addition to these fairs, we have a great Guidance Department that will be with us every step of the way. So don’t despair! The right college for each of us is out there somewhere, and the spring college fair is a great way to start finding that school. Before you know it, you will be one of those senior students proudly wearing your college sweatshirt.
 
The world is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
- Saint Augustine