"What John F. Kennedy Means To Me" Annual Essay and Poetry Program


The 34th annual "What John F. Kennedy Means to Me" Essay and Poetry Program began with class visits to the John Fitzgerald Kennedy National Historic Site on April 24, 26, and 27, 2018. Third grade students from the Edward Devotion School in Brookline took part in an inquiry-based tour of the president's boyhood home and neighborhood, and learned about the formative influences that shaped the boy who would become president.

Students also visited the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum, where they explored exhibits about Kennedy's personal achievements, his heroism during WWII, his political campaigns, and the accomplishments of his presidency.

Drawing on their experiences from the Birthplace and Library visits, students returned to their school and wrote essays on what JFK meant to them. Upon completion of the essays, students voted on their favorite through a blind peer review. Park Rangers then visited classrooms to lead poetry writing workshops in which students produced collaborative group poems.

On May 25, 2018, winning essays were revealed and class poems were read at a well-attended public ceremony at the Coolidge Corner Theatre. During this special event, local dignitaries joined with students to celebrate their accomplishments and encouraged them to realize their own potential as citizen-leaders within their communities.

The National Park Service congratulates all of the participants from the "What John F. Kennedy Means to Me" program and is pleased to invite virtual visitors to use the links below to explore the fine work of these students. Please click here for an archive of essays and photos.


"The Thirty Fifth President" by Ms. Albertini's Class
"JFK's Traits Through the Ages" by Ms. Bordieri's Class
"A Man's Life, John F. Kennedy" by Ms. Driscoll's Class
"JFK, All the Way" by Ms. French's Class
"JFK, A Spark of Hope" by Ms. Halverson's Class


Photo of essay winners

Ms. Albertini
Morris May, runner-up
Alexa Wingerter, winner

Ms. Bordieri
Garfield Branche, runner-up
Tomer Zilbershot, winner

Ms. Driscoll
Ella Ben Ami, runner-up
Shani Weitz, winner

Ms. French
Dylan Silver, runner-up
Felix Situ, winner

Ms. Halverson
Willa Fehlau-Rae, runner-up
Liv Klawiter, winner


Images on this page courtesy of NPS, Kennedy NHS. Second photo from the top by Matt Teuten.

Ranger points at map on walking tour
Ranger Jason leads Devotion class walking tour


Looking for essays, poems and photos from previous years? Click here.

Last updated: August 8, 2018

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

83 Beals Street
Brookline, MA 02446


(617) 566-7937

Contact Us