A familiar face in Friendswood ISD and a big part of FHS living history is gone. Dr. Myrlene Kennedy, FHS’ biggest fan, passed away after a brief illness January 12, 2014 surrounded by family.
Dr. K, as she is affectionately known, was in her 55th year in the district with a memory that could take you from day one in a small town called Friendswood where she was hired to teach sixth grade science to musical trivia from 40-plus years or names of last year’s Homecoming reunion people. She loved FHS and dedicated her life to it.
In 1959 Kennedy was hired to work in FISD. The community had dirt roads and some students road horses to school. Shoes were not mandatory until 1965.
Kennedy had grown up in the Houston/Pasadena area and graduated from University of Houston in 1958 with a Bachelors of Business Administration Degree. She worked one year for Kelvinator Division of American motors while completing her teaching certification.
She earned her Master of Education and Administrative certification from Sam Houston State University and her Ph.D. from Texas Woman’s University in 1976.
Although hired for sixth and seventh grade science, she soon taught Physical Education, Journalism, Texas History, Business Law, World History, Speech, Civics and Economics, and American History. She was also the Newspaper (Lariat) advisor for seven years and the Round Up (yearbook) advisor for 17 years.
Kennedy was the Director of Student Activities from 1971-1977, Assistant Principal from 1978-1997, FHS Principal from 1998-2007, and Assistant Superintendent from 2007 to the present.
She coached Girls Varsity Basketball for 9 years and Girls Tennis for 11 years.
For four years she served as the One Act Play Director and was the debate coach for eight years.
She was inducted into the Mustang Hall of Fame in 2003, received the first Making a Difference Award in 1993 and has been the director and producer of the annual FHS musical for 46 years. She organized Homecoming and reunions for more than 40 years as well as graduation activities.
Alumni greet her across the nation and world. Momentous occasions such as graduations, weddings, babies, and career awards were daily shared by alumni with Kennedy in person or mail or a phone call from places all over the world. Since email, keeping up with former students became easier and she was proud to admit she has now impacted some of their grandchildren in the district.
Many in the community compliment her each year on her Patriotic Halftime show honoring the military each fall. Each year she has scripted the production to continue to honor and encourage patriotism with others.
In administrative duties, she has helped many with residency issues, served as chair for the Safety Committee and organized the first Stadium Advertising program for the district. She also worked with the district nurses.
She worked with the University Interscholastic League as District Chair and met regularly with coaches to keep everyone informed on UIL rules for play. She hosted the UIL Academic District Meet held annually, often at FHS.
Dr. Kennedy was the District Chair for District 24 AAAA a position she held for over 25 years. She was the UIL legislative voice of UIL District 24 AAAA for all student activities including Athletics and academics. The schools in district currently are: Texas City, Santa Fe, Galena Park, Dawson, Baytown Lee, Goose Creek Memorial, Friendswood, Galveston Ball.
Kennedy assisted alumni with the FHS Alumni Association and was named an Honorary Alumna in 2008.
At the January 13, 2014 regular meeting of the FISD School Board, board members voted unanimously to name the FHS auditorium, the Myrlene Kennedy Auditorium. So many happy moments of her life at FHS were spent in the facility.
“Dr. K. has either taught, coached, or been an administrator in our schools for 55 years. Her blood was blue and you could find no one more committed to the students at FHS,” Superintendent Trish Hanks said. “She will be missed.”