Taylor, Michigan– Friday, October 6th was a momentous day at John F. Kennedy High School in Taylor. Alumni representing all eras arrived in droves to partake in the walkthrough and homecoming game, in wake of the school closing it’s doors for good in June of next year.
Several faculty and staff, along with a handful of current students were on hand to welcome the alumni in.
For so many that arrived, this was an opportunity to revisit the halls of their teenage years, no matter how long ago that was for them. Some were able to revisit with old friends from years past. Others were able to take their children through to be able to show them the school they graduated from.
For one man, this occasion was extra special. Class of 1968 member Earl Eberts proudly claims to be part of the first “real” graduating class.
“My class along with ’67 and ’66, we opened this school,” Eberts said. “We were the first three classes here, and our class, the ’68 (class) was the first to go all three years here, so we consider ourselves the true graduating class of Kennedy.”
What made this occasion even more special for Eberts, a Vietnam veteran, was that two generations of his family would follow in his footsteps as Kennedy Eagles. His daughters, Heather and Courtney both graduated from Kennedy. His granddaughter, Cecelia Mouro, is a current student alongside her brother, Brenden. Being a third-generation Kennedy Eagle, she has a family legacy that’s been tied to the school for its entire existence.
“It feels pretty cool because my grandpa went here, my parents went here, and now me and my brother go here,” Mouro said.
Here are what other Kennedy alumni had to share about this experience and their past experiences at Kennedy.
Nicole Comerad ’89: “I’m glad they did it (the walkthrough) for people that were interested in coming to do it and it’s like a final farewell.”
Lori Boaz ’85: “I had a relatively good few years at Kennedy. I was in pom pom and a class officer. Despite the typical teenager stuff, it went pretty good.”
Tippy Crow ’86, on becoming the first black homecoming queen in school history: “I never dreamed that it would happen. I never though that something like that would be my thing, but to be honest, my mother dreamt it, and she told me the summer before my senior year; and when it happened, I just always think of her because she dreamt it.”
Marquina Smith ’94: “When I was living in Pittsburgh, I kept seeing, well because I always kept up with reading the News Herald, I saw in the News Herald they were talking about closing it and I thought I was going to have a massive heart attack,” (Laughing).
Shalimar Johnson Gayer ’94, reflecting one of her favorite teachers, Mr. Manley: “He was funny. You just didn’t want to get on his bad side, but he was a good guy.”
Rocky Edward-Graham ’99, on becoming homecoming queen: “It was a big moment. One of the happiest days of my life. I can still recall the excitement I felt when I actually won. I still have the pictures I go through and just flip back and I can still recall that moment.”
Stacey (Szosteck) Kupser ’00, homecoming queen on her experience walking through and cheerleading at the game: “I honestly felt like crying at times just because, you know, it was so long ago and I kind of felt that I wasn’t going to remember much, but as soon as soon as you walk through the halls, I remembered so much. The cheering, it’s being back here, feeling the crowd, it was great. I loved cheering with my girls. I’ve cheered with my old coach. I just felt a lot of pride.”
This is all just a snap shot of what went on Friday at Kennedy. Hopefully, this “small” sample will help everyone that reads this recall this day and remember the range of emotions that they felt. Still to come is a story on one Kennedy senior who overcame a major obstacle to be crowned homecoming king that night. You can also expect a return of my column, You Heard It From Me, in which I will express my own thoughts and reflections on my time as a Kennedy Eagle and what these months of covering the school closing and this football season have meant to me. Stay tuned for both within the next couple of days. You heard it from me, Seth Walker.