Senior Day at Jesuit High School on Friday (May 3) featured an array of events for the Class of 2019, including a special Convocation, the awarding of Senior Notables, and the 23nd annual Senior-Alumni Luncheon, at which the 170 members of the class officially joined the Jesuit High School Alumni Association.
More than 100 alumni, including several past winners of Jesuit's Alumnus of the Year Award, accompanied the seniors at the luncheon, which was held for the first time at Armature Works in Tampa. The event was highlighted by the honoring of 2018-19 Alumnus of the Year, Ken Stephens '74, who delivered a heartfelt keynote address, as well as a special student presentation from Mitchell Johnson '19, who encouraged his classmates to give back to the school that has given so much to them.
Stephens has generously shared his time, talent, and treasure with Jesuit in many capacities through the years (see his biography below). He spoke Friday about his lifelong connection to Jesuit and its impact on his life. Among the previous Alumnus of the Year winners in attendance were Lee Pallardy '69 (2016), Dr. Steve Krist '69 (2013), John Oliva '60 (2017), and Ernest "Cookie" Garcia '50 (2015).
The day began with a special Convocation, as school president Fr. Richard C. Hermes, S.J. recognized Mondy Flores '19's appointment to the U.S. Military Academy (Army West Point). Then, outgoing student council president Andrew Kynes '19 delivered the traditional farewell address to the Jesuit student body with a mix of humor, reflection, optimism, and gratitude. Next, the seniors took a class picture in the outfield of Hyer Family Park. They positioned themselves in the shape of '19 while being photographed from above by the drone of classmate Reece Tappan '19, who was in the photo with them.
After a class breakfast in the cafeteria everyone headed to the MPR, where Senior Notables were announced (see the list of winners below); English teacher Austin Freeman '02 spoke to the class about their four years at Jesuit; and they viewed a special senior video. The class then celebrated Mass together in the Chapel of the Holy Cross before loading into several buses and departing for the Senior-Alumni Luncheon at Armature Works.
See below a photo slideshow from Senior Day and the Senior-Alumni Luncheon; videos of the luncheon presentations by Stephens and Johnson; the list of Senior Notables; and information about the Alumnus of the Year, Stephens.
THE CLASS OF 2019
MOST LIKELY TO SUCCEED
JESUIT HIGH SCHOOL
2018-19 ALUMNUS OF THE YEAR
KEN STEPHENS '74
Since graduating in 1974, Ken Stephens has been a lifelong advocate of Jesuit High School, donating his time, talent, and treasure to supporting his alma mater and the Jesuit High School Alumni Association.
Throughout the years, he has served Jesuit in many leadership capacities, including as a member of the Board of Trustees (2004-10 and 2011-17), while serving as Board Chair from 2005–07. He was also a member of the Executive Committee for Jesuit’s ‘Honoring Our Traditions’ capital campaign (2004-08). Stephens is a long-time member of the Jesuit High School Facilities & Real Estate Committee, twice serving as Chair (2008-10, and 2014-17), and was a former member of the school’s Trustee Affairs Committee (2011-17). He is also a long-time annual supporter of the school’s annual Gaudiosa gala and Hartnett Golf Classic.
Professionally, Stephens is a Principal at Retail Property Advisors. In 2010, his guidance and expertise was instrumental in helping to transform Jesuit's campus, facilitating the reacquisition of the old Tampa Bay Mall property, and helping to develop that property for key tenants such as Panera, Equity, and Florida Cancer Specialists. He also helped develop the plan for assembling properties near campus along Osborne and Emerald to allow for needed campus expansion. Ken is an active member of the International Council of Shopping Centers and is a licensed real estate broker in Florida and Alabama.
Active in the community, Stephens serves on the Advisory Council for Auburn University’s Masters in Real Estate & Development program. He is a past mentor for the Hillsborough Education Foundation and is an active parishioner of Christ the King Catholic Church. Stephens is the proud parent of Tyler Stephens ’06 and was an active member of the Jesuit Dads’ Club. He currently resides in Tampa with his wife, Kathy.
For his many years of outstanding leadership and dedicated support to the school and our Tampa Bay community, Jesuit High School is proud to recognize Ken Stephens ’74 as the 2018-19 Alumnus of the Year!