Senior Spotlight: Jose Cuevas


Bryce Tarnowski

Senior Jose Cuevas repping Chicago Bulls attire.

Bryce Tarnowski

Jose Cuevas is an outgoing, kind, and charismatic senior at John F. Kennedy Memorial High School. After four remarkable years, Jose looks forward with determination as he graduates this spring. A contributing member of The Torch, STARS, WEvolve and more, Jose always wants to be a helping hand and incorporate himself in extracurricular activities. He aspires to be a social worker one day and guide individuals out of their everyday problems.

What goals did you have coming in as a freshman?

Jose: Well…let me think, coming in as a freshman I came out of 8th grade motivated to do well. To actually set a mark on myself in high school and to have something to say for myself.

As a current senior, did you accomplish any of those goals?

Some of them yes, some of them no, like my grades have been very low up to this point. I’ve been trying to get better, but at the same time, I feel like I sorta reacted too late, and like I said, a lot of things “yes”, I feel like I’ve become a changed person, but academically speaking, “no, I don’t think so.” Not a lot of them.

What’s your opinion on JFKMHS and why?

Looking past all the defects, it’s a great school. It has a lot of good teachers with a lot of good qualities… teachers that actually care about their students. I feel like if they keep getting teachers like that, this school might actually have a future.

Did it meet your expectations?…

That’s a good question…quite honestly, I don’t know because I didn’t really have any expectations coming in. I really don’t have an answer to that question, not because I don’t wanna answer it, but because like I said, I didn’t really have expectations. I just thought it was gonna be different from middle school, but not that much different.

Would you go back and change anything..If so..what?

I would most definitely work on myself and tell myself to snap out of it, to stop procrastinating, to stop putting things to the last minute, to stop daydreaming and to stop getting distracted in class in general.

Throughout your high school years, what extracurricular activities were you involved in?

I’m in a lot of extracurricular activities. Unfortunately due to the pandemic, I really didn’t get a lot of chances to participate in any extracurricular activities during my freshman and sophomore year, but in junior year I really buckled down and I was in the Kennedy WEvolve Club, the JFK STARS Club, the Guitar Club, the Ping Pong Club, Gaming Unplugged Club, and the Health and Wellness Club. There’s a lot of clubs that I have been involved in that I have really enjoyed so far.

What made you get into them…? And which one did you enjoy the most?

I got into clubs just to see how it would go. I got into it for the personal experience, and quite honestly, I’ve enjoyed all of them equally. I wouldn’t really say I enjoyed any club more than another, more so the fact that I enjoyed all of them. I really, really enjoyed all of them.

Did you have any favorite teachers?

Almost definitely, my favorite teacher thus far has been Mr. Heeney. My freshman history teacher has been one of the best I had because…you know…he cares. He genuinely cares about the well-being of his students and cares to make class interesting and enjoyable. Also, even though I never had this teacher, Ms. Pardo is a great teacher. She is always willing to talk to you, to listen to you. Mr. Dipalma, my English teacher, [is] a great teacher and has a great sense of humor. Like Mr. Heeney, he also cares a lot about the well-being of his students.

I think my top favorite teacher would be Ms. Kurack-Benfold. My junior Spanish teacher, she really did help me through tough times and she was always there to listen whenever I needed to vent, or whenever I needed someone to talk to. So yeah, I’m always gonna be thankful for that.

What are your plans after high school? Any specific career path?

Oh most definitely. I always enjoyed helping people and listening to people, and talking to people so I most definitely wanna become a social worker when I get out of high school. That’s one thing I always aspired to be, and hope to get there someday.

Do you have any advice on your mind for all of the underclassmen? 

Get down to business, don’t procrastinate, don’t leave stuff to the last minute and generally, just enjoy your high school years. Join clubs, participate in any sporting events, any school events that you can, because it’s a once in a lifetime experience. High school only comes once in your life, and you’re at your peak in high school. You don’t have a care in the world, so enjoy while it lasts and make it worthwhile.