Kennedy Named School of Distinction for Second Year in a Row


As one school year closes another opens up, and as part of what many would call one of the best athletic years in Kennedy History, JFK High School was recognized as a School of Distinction for the second straight school year. The School of Distinction is given out by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association to schools that participate in the scholar athlete program. Traditionally, most Kennedy teams qualify as scholar athlete teams, which is described as a team with a combined average of 90, and when all varsity teams qualify as scholar athlete teams, that then qualifies a school for the School of Distinction award. Kennedy’s principal Mr. Gerard Owenburg, who is in his first year as principal and eleventh year in the school, started in the school as the assistant principal overseeing athletics, said that “… as soon as I came in we started to participate (in the program) and promote it to the students and the coaches…” which has led to Kennedy being a School of Distinction four times since then, including the current back-to-back. Despite it seeming that four out of ten is not many, usually there is only one team that is extremely close to a 90.

In Kennedy, everybody stresses both sides of a high school student’s life–both the recreational and the educational sides, and also the idea of combining the two, creating the idea of being a student athlete. Mr. Owenburg added, “We like this program because we think this clearly shows our expectation that you are not just an athlete, you’re a student athlete and being a good student is the utmost importance.” This program also gives the student athletes of Kennedy High School to be represented and show that they’re not only athletes, but their good students, participate in clubs, and is a good peer in the classroom, and since Kennedy has such a good academic reputation, sometimes our stellar athletic programs, which are ran by the district’s Athletic Director Mr. Eric Caballero and Kennedy’s Athletic Coordinator Mr. Craig Papach, gets under shadowed.

Throughout the school year, Kennedy’s athletic teams always play up to high standards. From volleyball, soccer and football in the fall, to basketball and wrestling in the winter, and baseball and softball in the spring, Kennedy’s student athletes are represented in and out of the classroom year round. Something that Kennedy also believes in is success in and out of the classroom. Mr. Owenburg said that “Success breeds success, so as our athletic program is successful making the playoffs, it’s definite motivation for it to continue. The coaches are proud of it, and they are proud to share that their teams are scholar athlete teams.”