Kennedy High School plays integral role in boosting Westwood Square community

Student-athletes are inspiring the future generation

SAN ANTONIO – Planted just south of Westwood Square is Edgewood Memorial Stadium, home to the John F. Kennedy Rockets.

The high school was founded in 1963, coinciding with the assassination of the 35th president.

That historical background has since created a community rich with culture, pride and tradition.

“If you really want to get to know the neighborhood, you’ve got to get to know the people that grow up and live here,” Edgewood ISD Athletic Director Ben Benavides said. “It’s a blue-collar neighborhood, we’re tough individuals community-wise. It’s going to take a lot to knock us down.”

Benavides is a product of the Edgewood district. In his position, he has emphasized hiring qualified, home-grown personnel who can provide the next generation of student-athletes with tools to excel.

“The gear and the equipment are cool and everything, but it’s bigger than football, I rather get a good lesson from the coaches for the future and my life,” said Angel Rodriguez, a senior and football player at Kennedy.

In recent years, Kennedy has stepped up its recruiting efforts to help put athletes on the map — and it’s paying off.

Last year, the Rockets had eight student-athletes, including four girls, go on to play at the college level. That alone is something Vanessa Nunez, who heads the girls’ soccer team, says is both admirable and inspiring.

”You don’t really see a lot of girls that have the commitment or want to go out of the community and play at the next level because, maybe due to the traditions that they may have or just the customs they may have as a family,” Nunez said.

“Knowing a lot of people who didn’t make it out farther … it’s very important to me to go out there, to be able to do anything or even graduate and go to college, a university,” said Jazmin Vasquez, a junior and volleyball player at Kennedy.

With that, the community believes bringing success back into the West Side is what pushes the area forward.

“Being new to San Antonio, I wear my Kennedy shirt everywhere I go and everywhere I’ve been in San Antonio, I’ve run into people that have graduated from Kennedy,” explained Matt Hove, the head football coach for the Rockets. “So, you get the sense that Kennedy High School itself has roots that branch out throughout the entire 210 and there is an immense sense of pride that, everyone that graduated Kennedy, they carry with them.”

Last year, nine of Kennedy’s athletic programs were featured in the UIL postseason. The highlight was the girls’ soccer team, which brought home a state-runner-up finish.

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About the Authors:

Mary Rominger is KSAT 12 Sports' first full-time female sports anchor and reporter. She came to San Antonio from Mankato, Minn., where she worked as a weekend sports anchor at KEYC News Now. She has a journalism degree from Iowa State University and grew up in Southern California. Mary enjoys golfing, sports and finding new spots around town.