Democrat Photo by
MEMORIAL TO DAD: Three
of Ed Kennedy’s sons stand in front of their father’s
monument at Monticello HS as they listen to brother Pat
(out of the picture) make a few comments. They are, from
the left: Michael, Kevin, and Edward Jr.
Kennedy Memorial Unveiled
By Frank Rizzo
MONTICELLO — July 4, 2000 -- To have known, worked and played for, or
have been taught by Edward R. Kennedy Sr. must have left an imprint,
judging by the turnout at the dedication ceremony on Memorial Day
weekend at the Monticello high School athletic fields.
The occasion was the naming of the athletic fields after and unveiling
a monument in honor of Kennedy (1931-1998), who served the Monticello
School District as teacher, coach, and athletic director from
One by one, speakers stepped up and described a person who, in the
words of Kennedy’s successor as athletic director, Ken Garry, “was
a very important man in our lives.”
“We were most fortunate that Ed returned to teach here. The people he
touched clearly remember how he shaped their lives,” noted Monticello
Superintendent of Schools Eileen Casey. “In his quiet and unassuming
manner he touched the heart of the community.”
Monticello Board of Education member Robert Rosengard recalled Kennedy
as “[understanding] that the desire to win must be tempered by the
need to be a good human being. He never lost sight of his purpose…
[he knew] how much more important character is than winning.”
Harold Diamond, a colleague of Kennedy’s, remarked that “when
[Kennedy] retired we at Monticello High School were poorer for his
leaving… now the world is poorer for his leaving.”
Armand Seibert, who retired from the Monticello HS phys ed department
several years ago, was hired by Kennedy.
Seibert emphasized his former boss’ artistic abilities, noting that
Kennedy “gave me a carving I love the most.”
It is a fantastically detailed model of an Irish pub, inscribed “Seibert’s
Peter VanEtten, who like Seibert was a member of the Ed Kennedy
Memorial Committee which raised funds and helped plan the monument,
said he was “asked to speak on behalf of all the students whom Ed
taught and coached… He was a great coach. He gave us vision, and he
gave us guidance.”
VanEtten began his speech with a comment that reflected another of his
former coach’s qualities — humor.
“If I appear nervous,” VanEtten announced, “it’s not because of
the fear of public speaking, but because of all the educators out here
critiquing my speech.”
Patrick Kennedy, who followed his father into the education field and
now holds the position of athletic director at Middletown HS, spoke for
the Kennedy family.
“Dad would have been proud of the artistry of this monument,” said
Kennedy, a 1979 graduate of Monticello HS.
Kennedy remarked, “Our father relished the victories, but he had
people foremost in his mind. Play hard, play fair, and keep your head
County Clerk George Cooke played basketball and baseball as a freshman
for Kennedy in 1956.
“He was strong on fundamentals. He cared about what kind of life you
lived — on the court and in your life,” Cooke recalled.
Mike Bernstein of Monticello was Kennedy’s charge from 1961-65, and
played soccer, track, and baseball.
“Ed was my idol, my model,” Bernstein praised. “Without a doubt
he was the fairest person I ever knew, with the unique ability to
communicate with high school athletes.”