, , ,

“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!

, , ,

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

K-Fest-2016-030

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.

K-Fest-2016-031

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.

,

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

serving others

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.

Hoops winners

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.

Giving to others

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. 

,

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:
  • 
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.
  • 
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