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How Lives Affect Lives

By Ariannah Tringali

Local Wakefield seniors and Wakefield Memorial High School seniors came together for lunch, conversation, and interviews as part of a cross-generational program titled Seniors to Seniors. The resulting articles written by students using lived experiences from the adults as content are being published as a series. Seniors to Seniors is a collaboration between The Savings Bank, The Room to Write, Wakefield High School, Wakefield Senior Center, Wakefield Daily Item, and JC Marketing Associates.

Katy Kennedy’s life was marked by a series of defining moments, each one shaping her journey towards mediation, conflict resolution, and a deep-rooted interest in fostering peace in the world.

Born Katherine Phair, Katy’s name was a nod to her family’s tradition, with a twist inspired by her mother’s marriage to a Kennedy. She grew up in Melrose, spending her formative years in the same house she now calls home, a decision she made to care for her ailing mother. Her commitment to family is evident and woven into the fabric of her being.

Katy’s love for her family has always been present and apparent. However, her connection grew stronger when she faced an unexpected turn of events. When Katy was only 13, her father, who was a firefighter in Boston, passed away after
having a severe heart attack following a difficult fire. This deeply affected Katy, teaching her a lot about sadness and making her really care about others who go through tough times.

Through the lens of this grief, Katy viewed the world with compassion and understanding. Whether counseling individuals in their darkest hours or mediating conflicts on the world stage, her empathy shone through, serving as a beacon of hope in a world often overshadowed by hostility.

A pivotal moment arrived when Katy embarked on a journey with the Peace Corps, venturing into Kenya for a special education project. It was her first foray into the world beyond her own, exposing her to diverse cultures, perspectives, and the harsh realities of inequality. This experience ignited a flame within her, and a desire to bridge divides and mend broken relationships.

Returning from Kenya, Katy delved deeper into the realm of mediation and conflict resolution. She pursued education and training, immersing herself in the intricate dance of diplomacy and dialogue. Her work in Northern Ireland, amidst political tensions and historic grievances, further honed her skills, forging her into a seasoned mediator capable of navigating even the most intricate of conflicts.

Katy reflects on her journey — the highs, the lows, and the winding road that led her to where she stood today. Her words carry the weight of wisdom born from a life rich in experiences—a life shaped by loss, resilience, and an
unwavering commitment to peace; but proceeds to live with an effort to pave the way towards a brighter, more harmonious future.

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