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JFK Rocks!

The John F. Kennedy School wrapped up a year-long focus on cultivating kindness with the grand opening of a new “JFK Rocks!” rock garden.

The JFK Student Council spearheaded a kindness initiative this school year. Student representatives, under the guidance of Assistant Principal Michelle Bell and fifth-grade teacher Rebecca Schapira, organized activities throughout the school year to promote kindness and acceptance.

One of the activities included reading the book “Only One You,” by Linda Kranz. This book encourages readers to make the world a better place through kind actions and by sharing their own unique talents. Student Council representatives first read the book together as a group, and later read the book aloud to their buddy classes. Every classroom library received its own copy of “Only One You.”

Inspired by the vibrantly-colored rockfish illustrations throughout the book, Student Council representatives painted their own rocks, each unique in its own way, to be displayed in the new rock garden. Additionally, all 441 members of the JFK school community contributed a colorful thumbprint to a large canvas painting, also inspired by the book.

To complement the painted rocks and thumb-print canvas, JFK art teacher Dr. Christine Mulligan displayed additional artwork in the garden to create a warm, welcoming, and beautiful outdoor space.

 “This project demonstrated that in our own way, we can each truly make a difference in our own lives and the lives of those around us,” explains Assistant Principal Michelle Bell.

The Kennedy School hosted a ceremony on May 16 to celebrate the grand opening of the new rock garden. District administrators, school leaders, Student Council representatives, and cadets from the U.S. Merchant Marine Academy were on hand to welcome JFK families to the newly designed space.

Students, faculty, administrators, and cadets from the Merchant Marine Academy celebrate the opening of a rock garden at JFK.


John F. Kennedy School Principal Ronald Gimondo, Assistant Principal and student council co-advisor Michelle Bell, art teacher Dr. Christine Mulligan, fifth-grade teacher and student council co-advisor Rebecca Schapira, Superintendent Dr. Teresa Prendergast, JFK head custodian Glen Ryder, and Assistant Superintendent Kelly Newman are joined by student council representatives and cadets from the Merchant Marine Academy for the grand opening of a colorful new rock garden.