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John F Kennedy Elementary celebrates 50 years

By Jacqueline Gedeon, KTVM Butte Reporter, jgedeon@ktvm.com
Published On: Jan 14 2014 06:24:18 PM MST
Updated On: Jan 14 2014 06:32:33 PM MST
BUTTE, Mont. -

State leaders and members of the community gathered at John F. Kennedy Elementary to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the renaming of the school.

John Fitzgerald Kennedy Elementary students trickled in one by one to mark the golden anniversary of the renaming of the school John F. Kennedy Elementary. In 1963, just four days after Kennedy's assassination, the school board made a historic vote.

"We're very proud of the work my father did when he was on the Board of Trustees in renaming the Kennedy school," Ellen Crain told the crowd.

Crain's father was on the school board, voting to make Butte the first city in the nation with school named in honor of Kennedy.

Local leaders, like Chief Executive Matt Vincent, former congressmen, and children from every grade filled the school gym Tuesday to share memories, stories and lessons learned.

"The stars of the show were the kids," said Former Montana Congressman Pat Williams.

Students from each grade made projects and presented them to the audience on stage.

"They did a great job of singing and making art and writing some essays which they read," said Williams.

"Every student in the school -- kindergarten through sixth grade -- wrote an individual letter to Ambassador Caroline Kennedy," said Event Coordinator Tom Staples.

Caroline Kennedy is the Kennedy's only living child left, and while she couldn't make it to the program, she sent a letter expressing her gratitude for the honor. Principal Ron Ricketts read it to the crowd.

"Thank you for this honor," Ricketts read. "Sincerely, Caroline Kennedy."