AVE DIMOND ’22
Sophomore Class President + Forefront Suicide Prevention Member
My teachers helped me grow into my leadership roles. They’ve shown, by example, what it really means to be a leader – inside the classroom and out. Their caring and constant presence in my life gave me a continued reference of what and who I want to be for others. There is a certain distinction I see in play at school constantly that I hope to put into all of my work and leadership in the future. It is the distinction between selfish and selfless. Teachers and mentors have shown me, through dedication and thankless service, what it is to be Christian. Even students, especially through times no one should have to go through, have helped me learn to not only be thankful for those that silently work hard but also how I should go about serving others.
These skills taught me that sometimes actions speak louder than words. When I run for leadership next year, it is much more important that I have shown them this year what kind of leader I am rather than simply saying how I can help my class. Maya Angelou said, “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
This year has been full of curveballs and stress-filled situations. Some of it has been a blessing in disguise. Others – not so much. I’ve seen the Kennedy Catholic community come together in ways I never imagined. My heart goes out to the seniors who had their last day of high school without realizing it. I hope to never again take for granted my education. Everyone tells you that you really find yourself in college, that’s when you do the real learning. But I don’t think this is entirely true. I think four years in high school can teach you more than even one year in college. It certainly can affect you more. It already has affected me immensely. ◆
PHOUNG PHAN ’20
Senior Class President + Human Relations Club President
Mr. Jones and Mr. Vinson played pivotal roles throughout my time at Kennedy Catholic. Both mentors pushed me to fulfill my full potential and go beyond my comfort zone. Their encouragement taught me how to not only advocate for myself, but for others as well.
From their wisdom I learned a good leader helps others empower themselves, and I have strived to uplift my community through my activism. I began to volunteer as a youth tutor to recent refugees with the International Rescue Committee which is dedicated to serving marginalized refugees throughout the world. In addition, I started an organization which aims to eliminate gun violence through legislative advocacy.
My final year as a Lancer was undeniably the hardest. However, this year brought many blessings in disguise. As an Asian American, I felt a special obligation to represent my community having been given a unique voice as senior class president. Throughout this year, I learned how to be a voice for the voiceless and that every battle is worth fighting for when someone is suffering.
The tribulations of this year taught me to be especially empathetic and attuned to the needs of those who have been oppressed and seek ways to include them. Representation matters. Amidst all the intense feelings of helplessness, disappointment, and empowerment, the greatest lesson I will take with me to college is to never doubt myself and my abilities. ◆
SOSNA ARAYA ’21
Junior Class President + Spanish Honor Society Treasurer
My teachers and coaches prepared me to be the leader I am now. Mr. Vandenberg and Señora Jinka taught me being kind to others and having fun is an essential part of life and leadership. Coach Beattie taught me numerous life lessons, soccer skills, and helped me grow as a person on and off the field. She taught me to be quiet and listen sometimes and to be more responsible. Ms. Nackos is a role model in my life because she emits positive energy, is respectful of others and I want to emulate her. I used my positive energy when I spoke in the walkout in front of a huge crowd of people. I am quiet sometimes and listen closely when that’s the right thing to do, because occasionally people need to get stuff off their chest and just need someone to listen. I’ve written a proposal to create a black student union (BSU), been an advocate from my class to the ASB, and shown pride through my outgoing energy.
This year shaped my perspective on life in a variety of ways. I learned how crucial social interaction is. I am an extremely outgoing person and with remote learning, it’s a struggle to stay connected. I enjoy talking to others and hanging out but being alone has helped me become more independent and grow mentally. My friends and I realize how much we miss being around each other, and it makes me cherish those moments with people because tomorrow is never promised. With the passing of Mr. Behrends, I’ve learned life is too short to be angry or hold onto hate. We should forgive others and try our best to have a positive attitude and be happy. The situation with Ms. Beattie and Mr. Danforth impacted me heavily. Everyone should have someone they love in their life, who supports them, and makes them happy. These challenges helped me grow as a person and leader and changed my outlook on life. I learned the importance of helping others without wanting anything in return. ◆
JENNIFER MARTINEZ-RAMOS ’20
Senior Class Coordinator
While attending leadership class, I gained a better understanding of who I am. The teacher prepared me to be a leader by helping me recognize my strengths and weaknesses. My senior class teachers helped me become more vocal in my role as a leader as I was pushed to participate more and realized how much a single voice can make an impact. Throughout the year, I used this newfound confidence to encourage more students to be involved in larger discussions, as well as leading the discussion in some clubs. Currently, I am using my leadership skills at my workplace to help guide the borrowed employees in running our store during this time of confusion.
This year has been my hardest school year yet. It has been full of challenges I have faced with my peers and some on my own. As a school, we stood together through these times of adversity. I joined my classmates during every opportunity as they rose to fight and it strengthened us as a school. When I was struggling in my personal life, I wasn’t sure if everything would be okay and how I would handle things, but my peers inspired me to keep going and I knew they would have my back.
The takeaways from this year: if we survived all this, we can conquer anything; there is truly strength in numbers; one voice can change the entire narrative; Kennedy Catholic is strong and resilient with amazing leaders that will continue to guide this school beyond my time here. I have been impressed with how many leaders have stepped forward and, in doing so, gave hope to others. In this scary time with remote learning I continue to see our leaders providing a guiding positivity to all. I know we will all recover and gain more insight on the value of community and solidarity, and soon again there will be chants for our Lancer Family - because that is what we are. ◆
FERNANDO RECINOS ’23
Freshman Class President
In my English/History class, I learned it is important for a student to take initiative in their learning because it is much more effective in life to put your best effort into something rather than doing sub-par work that will, in effect, give you the bare-minimum result. This concept was also developed in my time on the Lancer football team where I learned valuable life skills, in just my first season. To get the best results, one must fight through the adversity that may come and work hard. Instead of waiting for someone to tell you what you should be doing, we can step up. The best leaders lead by example in what they do daily and by serving their peers.
These skills helped me this year by encouraging me to do the best work I can in the classroom, which will help when it comes time to apply for college. Focusing on my lectures and assignments in the classroom, fighting through adversity (people telling me I cannot do something), and taking the initiative to use available resources to the fullest, will allow me to do the things I enjoy, such as serving my community in action and by example.
I have learned so much this year as a student-leader, but also as a freshman, experiencing high school for the first time. Freshman year is a time to adjust to a new environment, build a social network with peers, and learn lessons to grow as a leader. This year I’ve witnessed how strong a community is when they come together in the most desperate of times. The Lancer Family knows how to make their voices heard! I also learned to not take the time we have together for granted. Anything can happen at any time, such as the tragedy the world is facing today. We must be prepared to face adversity and adjust our lives for the greater good. Remote learning and social distancing are examples of a necessary adaptation in our lives for the health and safety of our community, but it only works when we come together in spirit and follow these measures. ◆
EMILIANO HERNANDEZ ’20
My teachers and coaches guide me as if I were their own child, helping me realize I should always give more than I receive. Every day, I am challenged to give not 100%, but 110% of myself to my peers and others who look up to me. These “adoptive parents” instilled love in me and everything I stand for as a student leader comes from a place of love. I am bound to the Lancer Family through agape love – an unconditional love that never ceases to be. My teachers strive to create humble individuals who help one another.
People in ASB positions do not always listen to those around them and will sometimes just do things “their” way. I believe Kennedy Catholic’s ASB has not fallen into that norm. We learned how to uplift everyone and listen to multiple perspectives all at once. I am grateful for this gift because I can acknowledge and accept ideas that I don’t necessarily agree with. Coexisting with diverse mindsets and backgrounds can often cause conflict. This isn’t a problem for me because my mentors have rewarded me with an education. I also recognize sisters and brothers within my fellow classmates. They guide me just as much as I guide them in an interdependent relationship. At the end of the day, everyone – including teachers and coaches – grows together as a family.
As an ASB, we faced many issues head on this year, never backing down or ignoring them. A family helps in times of need resolving problems through love; and we stand by love. Kennedy Catholic is a family and a strong one, too. My freshman through junior year were a blast and many joyful memories were made. However, my senior year has been hard. Through these difficult times, I am no longer afraid of addressing problems no matter how big or small. Every family has its faults but love always wins in the end. ◆