Always Part of the JFK Family
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By Jacqueline Fendley
John F. Kennedy High
JUNE 25, 2020 – On Monday June 15, the John F. Kennedy High School faculty and staff, along with students’ families and friends, celebrated the Class of 2020 by hosting a drive-up graduation celebration.
Despite the unpredictability of their final year of high school, the seniors were all smiles, laughter, and waves as they proudly crossed the stage in front of their closest family and friends.
Marcus Neal, Career Development Coach at JFK, found the event to be a special reconnection with students.
“The drive-through diploma celebration at John F. Kennedy was a great blessing.” Neal said.
“It was one more chance to honor and showcase our seniors. I enjoyed the excitement as they waited for their special moment. The students truly showed their Lion Pride!”
This day provided an opportunity for some closure and reassurances from their teachers and mentors as they prepared for their futures in the workforce, college, or training/deployment.
Janet Smith, a math teacher at JFK, proudly waved to her past students as they approached the stage.
“It was a bittersweet day,” Smith said.
“I love those students so much. I’m happy and hopeful they will be the change the world needs right now.”
Last month, JFK faculty and staff joined committees in order to begin preparations for the drive-through diploma pick-up ceremony, along with the other virtual graduation festivities.
Despite the potential for strong storms and heavy winds, the diploma pick-up was a success, and it was a great opportunity to see the class of 2020 one final time.
Several students arrived with decorated cars, massive banners attached to their vehicles, and one senior, Vivian Caldwell, celebrated by arriving in a Sprinter Limo Van.
Graduating seniors were provided with several tokens of appreciation, including a JFK Class of 2020 yard sign, JFK facemasks, Safe & Sober Prom shirts, and most importantly, the applause and exclamations of congratulations from the staff and faculty who cheerfully greeted them. Students were also professionally photographed as they walked the stage to receive their diploma.
While face masks were worn and smiles were somewhat partially disguised, it was still readily apparent just how excited students were of their accomplishments as they proudly displayed their CTE (Career Technical Education) academy stoles and their honor cords.
Before students departed to celebrate their high school graduation and begin their next life steps, they were asked to sign their names on the Class of 2020 banner. This banner will be displayed in the JFK hallway for their fellow underclassmen to admire for years to come.
Jacqueline Fendley, the Instructional Facilitator, said that she reminds graduating students to stay in contact with the faculty and staff.
“At JFK, students were not only a member of their CTE academies, but were also a member of the JFK house system,” Fendley said.
“We always remind the students that once you are a member of our JFK family, you are always a part of the family. We want to stay in contact with students and celebrate their future accomplishments.”
Principal Keisha Gabriel reflected on the school year and today’s celebration:
“JFK seniors have excelled even in the face of all of this year’s challenges. Although the end of the school year did not turn out as we had planned, the smiles on the students, families, and teachers’ faces were bigger than ever. We are so proud that our students continued to complete their assignments and stayed in contact with the school staff so we could help them reach this milestone. We can’t wait to see what the future holds for these amazing students!”