Gael Winds


Coming Soon: Sr. Janet Meehan Student Fitness Center

The last ten years has seen significant improvements to our school’s facilities. From the gymnasium renovation, the track installation, the turf field complete with stadium lights, the baseball and softball diamonds, to the refurbishment of the “White House” which formally served as a rectory to the “Welcome Center” for students, alumni, and families, the 57 year old campus continues to grow and improve

Founded as St. Mary’s High School in Katonah in the 1920’s, the current school was opened as John F. Kennedy High School in 1966. For nearly 50 of those 57 years, Sister Janet Meehan, RDC, served as art educator and track coach for, literally, thousands of Kennedy Catholic Gaels. Beyond the art room and the track, though, Sister Janet’s legacy is that her presence touched nearly every Gael to graduate from Kennedy Catholic from 1967 to 2015.

One of such Gaels is Mark Girolamo, Class of 1971. In his letter to his classmates earlier this academic year, Mark explains not only why he has taken a leadership role on the Fitness Center project, but also how he determined the most fitting name for such a facility: the Sister Janet Meehan Student Fitness Center.

“I have always had great affinity for Kennedy Catholic since I graduated in 1971. I grew in many ways during my four years there. Not only did I receive a first-class education, but I had the opportunity to represent the school on the athletic fields and also to make a number of great lifelong friends… I feel strongly that sports round out a student’s experience and also lay the groundwork for a healthy lifestyle for the rest of the person’s life. The benefits of a lifetime of fitness are well documented — and a lesson that I learned well at Kennedy and throughout my adult years both in the military and beyond.

I decided I would take a lead role in the construction of a Student Fitness Center… When this project began to take shape, I was excited at the prospect of making it happen and I told Father Vaillancourt that I would be the lead donor on this project and help raise the funds to complete it. In return he allowed me to select the name for the new facility. I decided it would be fitting to name the center after one of my teachers and friends who entered the building in 1967 at the same time that I started my Freshman year. I chose the name “The Sister Janet Meehan Student Fitness Center.”

Not only did Sister Janet teach at Kennedy for close to 50 years, but she was a coaching legend in Girl’s Track and Cross Country. She was a seven-time Westchester County Coach of the Year, developing many fine runners for the Gaels. Her leadership allowed for hundreds of girls to experience the thrill of competition and learn how to get fit and maintain a healthy lifestyle for the rest of their lives. Her contribution to the development of so many students was outstanding. Who better to honor than Sister Janet with such a building?”

Announced at the beginning of the 2021-2022 academic year, the project has reached just over 60% of its fundraising goal. The Fitness Center committee, consisting of members of the Board of Trustees, KCPS administration, and several alumni whose lives were touched by Sister Janet significantly, is hopeful that construction will begin in the summer of 2022.

If you are interested in working with the Fitness Center Committee to fundraise for this project, please contact [email protected]

To contribute to the project, visit our website: Kennedy Catholic Donation Form

To read more about Sister Janet’s life and legacy, visit the sites below: 


Catholic New York

The Examiner

The Divine Compassion

Sharing is Caring

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