Scholarship Essay by Sadie LaBonte
“And so my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for
your country”- President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy spoke to America during a time of tremendous social unrest. The Civil Rights
Movement was at a fever pitch and war was the word of the day: The Cold War, the Nuclear
Arms War, the Vietnam War. Americans were jaded but they felt hope had come with their new,
young president. JFK’s inaugural speech was meant to inspire everyday Americans to have
compassion for their neighbors. With a fresh face and ideals aimed at a new generation,
Kennedy appealed to people to live their lives in a new way. Today his words seem as relevant
as they ever have been. With Russia invading Ukraine and threatening the use of hypersonic
missiles, turmoil over race relations, and deep political divisions polarizing the country it‘s hard
to see how 2022 is different from 1961.
With such struggle in the world it’s hard to know where to find neighborly compassion. A place
where I have felt community is Cotuit Center for the Arts. I have volunteered there for years and
have met and worked with kids struggling with depression, adults with disabilities and senior
citizens coping with loss and loneliness. For these people the Center is a place where they can
I have been inspired by my time at the Center and plan to earn a masters degree in psychology.
My focus is on the accessibility of mental health for all. Connection between people is
necessary for the good of a population. I feel that I can connect with people through a career in
therapy and in that way I am doing exactly what JFK asked us to consider in his infamous
speech- to do what I can for my community and country.
March 18, 2022