Dear Kennedy Catholic Family,
Warmest greetings to all of you! Having celebrated the Resurrection of the Lord on Easter Sunday, it is such an uplifting feeling to see the blossoming of “new life” in nature that these spring weeks bring. It is hard to image how quickly this school year is passing. I did get to spend a good amount of time on our campuses during the month of April and I continue to be encouraged by all that is happening within our school system. Now that Gannon is officially on summer recess, I am pleased to be on our campuses full time from now until mid-August.
I want to congratulate Mrs. Rainey for having her statistics class approved for college credit through the University of Pittsburgh! This is a great accomplishment for her on behalf of our school and certainly offers our students the advantage of accruing college credits while still in high school. Thank you Mrs. Rainey for your hard work in securing this approval.
Many of you may know by now that a large portion of the Middle/High School Fieldhouse has been re- opened and in use for almost a month now. Though there remains a slight “moldy” smell, all of the air quality tests came back negative for anything harmful that may be lingering in the air. I thank Matthew Perry who offered to conduct the testing and who likened the smell to any musty basement. We will continue to remedy the smell with a thorough carpet cleaning in the near future and, frankly, by simply airing out the building as the outdoor temperatures continue to improve.
I also want to thank the families who came to the school on a Saturday to prepare our baseball and softball fields for their season. A lot of work was done to edge the field and spread fresh sand. So much backbreaking work is appreciated and the fields look great!
Soon, you will begin to see movement to replace the signage at the corner of the Freeway and Buhl Boulevard! Again, thanks to the generosity of many who contributed to the “Day of Giving” in the fall, and now that the weather has broken, we anticipate beginning the project very soon. After further thought, we decided to install a single-sided LCD screen rather than the anticipated dual-sided sign. Once we surveyed the location of the sign, we simply couldn’t see how a dual-sided sign would be much of an advantage. The new sign will be located very near where the current sign stands and, as you can conclude the next time you drive by, only one side would be visible to the public (the back side would be facing the school building). Nonetheless, we have approved the final design of the sign, marked the ground where the sign will be installed, and outlined the area that will need to be trenched to lay the wiring to power the signs. We are currently in the process of securing the various permits from the City of Hermitage and, then, the work will begin.
I would be remiss if I didn’t express my congratulations and pride in our boys’ basketball team for winning its second straight state championship title! You may have seen on the local news that the Cafaro Foundation honored our team with a spectacular celebratory gathering at the Eastwood Mall, featuring local politicians and dignitaries. The Cafaro Foundation also honored our school for “exceptional excellence” and made a very generous $10,000 contribution to our school system. We couldn’t be more grateful!
Our girls, too, had a wildly successful season, capturing yet another District 10 championship. Our baseball and softball teams are rebuilding their respective programs under new coaching staffs and we look to growing these programs and make them successful well into the future. Congratulations to our hockey team who captured the PIHL Division 2C Championship in only their second season of existence. With much excitement, I was thrilled to hear that the Hess Ice Rink will be placing our school’s logo in their ice for the 2017-18 season. They have also dedicated a bulletin board at the rink to promote our hockey team and to market our school system.
Our musical arts programs are also receiving some notoriety. Mr. Heasley had our chorus over to the John XXIII home for some public singing performances. In a recent competition at Kennywood Park, our Middle School Band won first place and our High School Band placed 4th. Congratulations to all of our students and thank you Mrs. Marks and Mr. Heasley. Our 3rd-8th graders experienced an amazing performance by the Civic Light Orchestra based in Pittsburgh at our high school. The short stage-play about the history of the steel industry in Pittsburgh was accompanied by period-era costumes and beautiful singing. Special thanks to the Gayle Anderson of the Shenango Valley Performing Arts Council for arranging the production for us!
Congratulations to Neely Whitehead, a senior who represented Kennedy Catholic High School at Extreme Leadership. Extreme Leadership is a program organized through Midwestern Intermediate Unit IV and meets throughout the school year. Neely worked with other local high school students to create a video presentation about conflict resolution. The final video was presented to the local school superintendents. She did a wonderful job representing KCFS and sharing with them how conflict can be resolved.
This past month, we celebrated “Career Day” for our high school students. We welcomed Caroline Collin, a 2011 graduate and current news personality, to deliver the keynote address for the day. Our students had the opportunity to speak with 18 professionals from a wide array of careers.
I had the privilege of celebrating several school Masses in April and, now that I’m back in the Valley, will be celebrating the remaining school masses. It will be a particular delight to celebrate Mass for our students being inaugurated into the National Honors Society and, especially, our Baccalaureate Mass for our graduating seniors.
We hosted our annual “Golden Eagle Gala” on April 29th. It was a delightful and elegant evening. I used this opportunity to announce our first ever Presidential Campaign, “Coming Home to Excellence.” More information will be provided to you before the end of the school year. For me, the highlight for the evening was presenting Mrs. Cicuto and Mrs. Lombardi with the “Kennedy Medal.” It was my way of thanking them for their tireless and dedicated service to KCFS and, by extension, to honor all of our faculty for their tremendous work they do in the classroom. On the heels of “Teacher Appreciation Week,” I want to thank, personally, all of our faculty; you are the most vital facet of our school system and I appreciate all that you do!
Later this month, we will have the distinct privilege to host Sr. Denise Olshausky. Sister is originally from Pittsburgh and now, for the past 11 years, serves the Saint John’s Care Center in Barberton, South Africa. The center cares for the nutritional and health needs of mothers and, especially, infant children infected with the HIV/AIDS virus. Barberton is located in the providence that has the second highest HIV/AIDS infection rate in all of Africa. We will be inviting the public to attend a discussion Sister will have about her ministry and we will be taking a free-will offering to support the work of the Saint John’s Care Center. A jeans day fee will also be donated to the inspiring ministry of Saint John’s. Information on the date of this event will be announced once arrangements are made with Sister Denise.
Just a reminder that, if you want to take advantage of our current “tuition freeze,” please plan to have full tuition payments in by August 1st, before the modest increases take effect for the 2017-18 school year. Also, the Board of Directors has passed motion approving a “tuition incentive program”: any current family who recommends a non-Kennedy family to enroll in our school system will be credited $250 following the successful enrollment of the new family. It is our way to express our thanks for assisting us in our enrollment efforts.
You may have noticed both of our campuses received a bit of “beautification” this past week. As our way of celebrating Earth Day, our students took to our campuses to clean up some litter and to “spruce up” our appearance. I thank the teachers who helped coordinate these efforts, Cottage Gardens for their ideas and assistance on our various projects, and especially our students who worked our grounds to make this a true celebration of God’s Creation.
As you can see, it has been a very busy month, and these are just the highlights! We look forward to another busy and exciting month as our school year draws to a close. Please continue to pray daily for us, for our students and families, and for our school system.
Fr. Jason Glover