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Alumni Spotlight
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Ryan Lee - Class of 2017


1. Why did your family choose Kennedy for your education?

The decision my parents made to send me to John F. Kennedy for my high school education was one of the easiest decisions they have made in their lives. I am a third generation student at JFK and the tradition began in the mid 1940’s, nearly eighty years ago, at St. Mary’s Elementary and High School. My grandfather John (Jack) Canzonetta has always said that our family has been instilled with tradition, discipline, and morals. I believe these three family values were introduced to me at a young age and solidified through my education at John F. Kennedy. The tradition began with my grandfather and since then we have had multiple generations attend Kennedy in the past and some who are currently still carrying the torch. From my grandfather, parents, siblings, and cousins we have all kept the tradition of bleeding blue and embrace the values gained through our experience everyday. 

2. What is your favorite high school memory?
My favorite high school memory would have to be winning the state championship in Football my senior year (2016). Winning state was always a lifelong dream of mine since I was introduced at a young age to the John F. Kennedy football tradition. I grew up watching some of the greatest football players to ever graduate from Kennedy, including Jared Province, Tony Elzy, JJ Townsend, etc. Some of these players also made it to the state championship game in 2006. Although they lost, I watched them battle for 15 weeks and learned a lot about hard work, determination, and family. I wanted to be just like them and ten years later, we were walking into the Horseshoe to play for our state title. We were forever bonded by that one championship moment.

3. Did you have a teacher or class that was a major influence on you?  

Mrs. Susan Ben Daali was a huge inspiration to me growing as a student at JFK. I had many classes with her in my time walking through those nostalgic hallways and she never failed to put a smile on my face. We had a lot of conversations about the present, but the ones that I will never forget are the stories that she shared from the past. These stories included my father that she taught in the very same building that I graduated from. Some of the tales she told me were hilarious, others were inspiring. When thinking and talking about the glory days of John F. Kennedy back in the 1980’s you sometimes think to yourself and say, “Why can’t it be like that anymore”, but she always reminded me that the future is yours and it’s your opportunity to make your educational experience what it is, and the impact it will have on your life. For that I will never take anything that John F. Kennedy has given to me for granted.


4. Education/Future Plans - What career are you planning for and why, what educational accomplishment are you most proud of? 

I am currently enrolled at Youngstown State University for secondary education with a focus in history. The reason I chose this major was because of the strong impact a teacher/coach has on a young student’s life. I want the ability to give students the same opportunity that I had growing up. History should be taught with passion and excitement to make it interesting and so that students can fully understand the events that have happened in the past. We have to learn from these events so that they don’t reoccur in the future. I also have a strong passion for coaching because of my love for sports and the way my father showed love for all the sports he was involved in. I am most proud academically of my achievement of being a part of the Presidents List at YSU. My mom has always pushed me to become a better student so that I can achieve anything I want in the world and when she saw that accomplishment her eyes filled with joy. 

5. What is a specific piece of advice you would give to a Kennedy senior? 
One piece of advice that I would give to a Kennedy senior would have to be to seize the day. You never know when your last day on this earth will be so take every opportunity that is handed to you and run with it. 

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