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“Hello Kennedy Passengers, This is Your Captain Speaking…”

By Parker Scarpa, Clarion Staff

Airline Announcements Captain Ellis Penn (12) prepares to greet the Kennedy “passengers” during the morning announcements in the front office. Photo by Sid Slesicki, Photo Editor

“If I do my job right, I can change the trajectory of your day,” says school announcer and Ellis Penn (class of 2019) when discussing the importance of the morning announcements in student life. The announcements provide useful information about school activities, new clubs, and local events for Kennedy students. Like the Pledge of Allegiance, the announcements are a staple of students’ Tuesday and Thursday mornings; in a school run by teachers and administrators, the announcements are one of the few outlets on campus for students to speak directly about what matters to them.

Known to many for his unicycle riding habits and self-described “outlandish” clothing, Ellis takes pride in his ability to fully express himself: “I try to push boundaries so other people don’t have to,” he explains. “I think I do it a lot in the clothes I wear. I wear a lot of things that are outlandish to show people that you can express yourself in all these different ways, and for the most part people are pretty positive.” As a student, Ellis is a strong advocate for self-expression, and he hopes to apply that spirit to school activities by giving students a voice through the announcements.

But are the announcements really essential to student life? In the past, many teachers have complained that they are unnecessary and too lengthy. However, Ellis argues that the announcements are still an important resource and that those teachers should be more understanding of the fact that, for many students, “these are really big opportunities getting announced.” Opportunities such as club events, tutoring in Literacy Lab, and on-campus college nights that students otherwise might never have known about. Still, Ellis is not unsympathetic to those teachers’ frustrations, adding that he makes an effort to voice the announcements as quickly as possible without sacrificing student content. Though, at a certain point, those teachers have to realize that “it’s a nuisance to you, sure, but it’s a massive help to students. So if it eats up five minutes of your class time two times a week, so be it– but it’s a necessary thing.”

Students who want to submit their own announcement can simply go to the school website jfk.scusd.edu and click on the banner labeled “Submit Announcement!” Enter your name, email, and club affiliation before typing in your announcement and selecting the days you would like it issued. Just be sure to keep it school-appropriate because all submissions are subject to review. Then, the next time the announcements come around, every student will hear your club information. It’s a quick and easy process that any student can and should take advantage of to get their voice heard.

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