The Poppe Courtyard

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When I began my freshman year at Kennedy, I found the courtyard to be a very unique area in the school.  Its open-air location, right in the middle of the school’s main building, was a nice break from all the brick walls and stark white tiles.  It is additionally showcased with clear, glass windows that run from the floor to ceiling, which tempts you to come “inside” and experience the fresh air. 

However, I never ventured into the courtyard.  Even though it offered a break from the confined surroundings of classrooms and offices, I did not find it appealing.  Many students felt the same way; I rarely saw students in the courtyard. There was hardly any seating and the taste of nature that it offered was limited to just a small, plain field of grass. That all changed over this past summer.  The courtyard went through a wonderful transformation and was completely renovated. It is now a beautiful outdoor area complete with several small circular tables with umbrellas, a gazebo, and luscious landscaping featuring a soothing waterfall surrounded by colorful flowers. Most importantly, the new courtyard was renamed the “Poppe Courtyard” to honor our late principal, Lorraine Poppe. 

 Ms. Poppe served as our principal for twenty-three years. She exemplified Cougar Pride and she had been planning this renovation because she wanted to give students a place to relax with friends as well as provide an intimate venue for small ceremonies and school celebrations.  Sadly, Ms. Poppe passed away earlier this year.  To honor her legacy, the Bellmore JFK Alumni Inc., our school’s alumni association, took on this special project and partnered with the school district and various school departments to raise money to bring it to fruition. The new courtyard is clearly becoming more popular as kids are spending their off periods enjoying the fresh air and taking their lunch out to the tables to socialize and hang out with their friends. 

The Poppe Courtyard is a testament to Ms. Poppe’s dedication and commitment to the students of John F. Kennedy High School and will continue to be a loving reminder of her tenure here. I know most of the freshmen and sophomores at Kennedy do not know Ms. Poppe, but I hope this article helps you learn how important she was to establishing the family culture we now have here at Kennedy. Furthermore, if you have not gone out to the Poppe Courtyard, please do so. It is a peaceful, beautiful reprieve from the hustle and bustle of daily school life. I can gladly say that I have finally ventured outside to experience the new courtyard myself.