The Bellmore JFK Alumni kicked off a year of celebrating the 50th anniversary of Kennedy High School by installing several new honorary and memorial bricks and a bench into its Cougar Walk of Recognition during a recent warm summer’s day.
Dr. Gary Morgenstern, president of the alumni association, remarked during the installation that the walk of recognition “connects the past with the present,” and will project its students, teachers and administrators well into the future for generations to come.
The Czarnecki family: Diane (class of ’74), Rob (’72) and Pat (’76)
Unveiled on November 1, 2014, the walkway, at the northeastern end of the school’s athletic field, features over 9800 bricks and stanches, and several benches, said Ron Steiger, alumni publicity spokesperson. Increasingly, the bricks add the names of students, teachers and administrators of the school as a means of honoring and memorializing their achievements or presence in the school, he said.
Other schools in the district, such as Calhoun and Mepham, have been following suit with development of memorial walkways of their own.
Eileen Connelly, former assistant principal who conceived the Walk of Recognition
Eileen Connelly, assistant principal of the school for 19 years until her retirement last year, placed a brick into the walk of recognition. She was also the administrator who pushed for an alumni association because of what she said was a need to put forth a vision of the school that would help students and others at the school that could carry the good works of the school into the future.
“I’m thrilled to see this walkway,” she said.
Brother and sister Rob and Diane Czarnecki and their sister Patricia Chiovaro had a brick installed with their names into the walkway. “It’s a gorgeous walkway,” said Diane. Rob likes the notion that it will help bring back memories for many people, to be able to see the names of people they knew during high school years, whether teachers or friends. Chiovaro called it an “awesome” walkway to look at.
A new bench in memory of Jeff Levick, Class of 1983
New York State Senator Michael Venditto was also at the brick installation to kick off the school’s 50th anniversary celebrations. “I certainly support the alumni association and its work on this gorgeous walkway,” he said, adding it will help serve the memory of all those who helped make the school a great place to learn and get a high school education.
New York State Senator Michael Venditto, far left, joins with alumni and other recognized residents such as Rita Kastenbaum of the Kastenbaum Foundation in kicking off Kennedy’s 50th anniversary celebrations, which began by placing new memorial bricks into the walkway
Both Morgenstern and Connelly told Your NewsMag that events in the future to help commemorate the school’s 50th anniversary will include, but are not limited to, a golf tournament in October, an all musical gala during the school’s annual Winter concert, and the Hall of Fame ceremony next spring.
To learn more about how you can order a tax-deductible brick to be placed into the Cougar Walk of Recognition, go to http://bellmorejfkalumni.org/alumni_projects