Kennedy Irene Settimi is not your typical teenager: she's an excellent student, accomplished musician, outstanding athlete, and Black Belt in Karate.
Born and raised in Dallas, she lived in the Casa Linda neighborhood for the first two years of her life, and then grew up in the Lochwood neighborhood of east Dallas.
Because she has no brothers or sisters, she says, “I’m the star of my family!”
She certainly has accomplished enough for three people. In elementary school and middle school at Zion Lutheran, Kennedy played every sport offered: basketball, volleyball, soccer, tennis, track, and she took martial arts outside of school. She also played t-ball when she was younger, moved up to baseball until fourth grade, then softball for about a year after that. This year, as a high school senior at Bishop Lynch, she is a softball player and Captain of the Golf team.
One thing most people don’t know about her is the softball-sized cyst she had when she was just five years old. Surgery was required to find it and remove it, because, as she remembers, “We only discovered it after I had bad pains in my stomach and was throwing up profusely.” That awful time is a distant memory, and now Kennedy is a senior ready to head off into college this fall.
In addition to her classes and her sports, Kennedy completed over 100 hours of community service, volunteering with people of all ages: the elderly in the Dallas VA Medical Center running their Bingo games, assisting in Vacation Bible School for children at Bethel Lutheran Church, the Best Buddies Friendship Walk supporting inclusion for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities, and before COVID-19, she often volunteered at her mother’s school to help her and other teachers in their classrooms. Once she’s allowed to go back and help out, she’s ready.
Her parents met at a Lutheran Church Camp when they were about her age now, teenagers, and then reunited later in life. They have been married for 20 years. Her mother, Tracy, is a DISD Kindergarten teacher, and her father, Ron – after working in Human Resources for years - now at enjoys working with plants instead of people at Ruibal’s Nursery as Manager of Landscape and Design.
Kennedy’s home is full: she lives with her parents, her grandfather, and three adorable dogs: Harley, Truly, and Baby.
Now she’s preparing to continue her education and is interested in the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Colorado at Denver, and Stephen F. Austin University. Her Dream College is Texas A&M University. The school is “full of history and tradition,” and Kennedy wants to become a part of that.
With her sports background, she thinking about a major that includes sports, or possibly work in another arena that requires athletic skills, like the Fire Department.
Her goal is simple, “To find a job that doesn’t feel like a job, because I enjoy it so much!”
One memory she enjoys is her “meet and greet” with with Vanilla Ice, the rapper who was also born in Dallas. Kennedy would like one day to meet Miley Cyrus, another strong young woman like her, “because I love Hannah Montana and watched the show religiously when I was younger.”
Like so many, 2020 was a hard year for Kennedy. She says the toughest time of her life was in September of 2020, when her beloved aunt passed away. Kennedy says she’s still not over it, “but I try to find her in the little moments.” This positive outlook is one of the many strong personality traits she embodies.
Now she is looking forward to college, and in five years, getting into her career. Ten years from now, she hopes to have a family and enjoy her time at home. That is, when she’s not volunteering, playing sports, practicing Karate or making beautiful music on her trumpet - and in her life.
Judy Porter, MBA is a Lake Highlands resident and writer. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org to tell YOUR story!