Palm Beach Central remembers senior Grant Fennessy

Sydney Chin, News Editor

Early this January, Palm Beach Central lost one of its shining stars, senior Grant Fennessy. His kindness, positivity, and wisdom have left an immeasurable impact on many students and staff.

The news of his sudden passing left anyone who knew him deeply shocked and saddened.

“Last week, I picked up the phone to news I didn’t think was imaginable,” said senior Ethan Nelson. “Anyone that spoke to Grant could tell you that he portrayed knowledge that was far more advanced than his peers. He was truly so much more than I could ever write about. He’s the kind of person that could be described as once in a lifetime.”

Diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer, in 2018 at 15 years old, Fennessy has demonstrated the core of what it means to be resilient. 

“No matter what the case was, Grant never dwelled on the past,” said Nelson. “Instead he looked forward to a promising future. Everybody always saw that smile on his face. I’ve learned many things from Grant, but one major takeaway I got from him is that even in the toughest times, you have to remain positive and look forward to a bright future.”

Central alumni and close friend, Shanti Solano, echoed this sentiment.

“He was always very friendly, loving, welcoming, and full of energy,” added PBC alumni Shanti Solano. “Grant was the first loss that was truly painful but also eye-opening because it really goes to show that you shouldn’t take life for granted.”

Even with health struggles, Fennessy has always served as an inspiration for those around him, constantly showing kindness and positivity.

“He was one of the most delightful people I have ever stumbled across,” said senior Neseyah McFarlane. “He was my first ever Valentine and I was so surprised when he brought me stuff for Valentine’s Day because I was completely unknowing of the fact that he would be doing that.”

Zoe Rodriguez, a senior, just knew that when Grant was close by, a fun time wasn’t far behind.

“Whenever Grant was around there was never a dull moment,” added Rodriguez. “He showed everyone that even though he may have been suffering he did not let that stop him from being who he was. Everyone loved him and he was friends with everyone and never judged anyone.”

When not in service to those around him, Fennessy also had a passion for music. Many recollect him rapping to his favorite songs and experimenting with lyrics and rhythms on his SoundCloud. His energy and talent touched many of those close to him.

“Every memory I find myself dwelling on I will hold dear to me forever,” mentioned McFarlane. “I could be 100 years old and withering away and I will never forget Grant, and every memory we have together. I have so many fond, amusing recollections to choose from because if you knew Grant you would know there was never a dull moment.”

Not only has Fennessy shown his dedication to others, but also to his academics.

“He is an exceptionally smart student who could grasp concepts really well,” shared Mr. Powell, Fennessy’s biology teacher. “He always wanted to help his classmates, which was helpful for me. I just had to make sure he didn’t give them all the answers.”

Fennessy was also known to participate in school activities like Interact Club and Student Council. This fall, he was elected as councilman for Wellington’s Tom Atkins Civics 101 program. The program is a civic engagement opportunity for students to meet local elected officials and learn about the policy-making processes.

“He was very excited to be elected by the students for mock village council,” explained Mr. Dalman. “He had such a great work ethic and commitment.”

On January 16, a candlelight vigil was held at the Isle of Wellington Clubhouse. Following social distancing and mask guidelines, approximately 30 of Grant’s closest friends and family gathered in remembrance of this vivacious student. The ceremony came to a close with a lantern lighting ceremony coupled with farewell sentiments given by three of Fennessy’s friends and his mom.

“Some people only do things to ensure that they will get something out of others but that was not Grant,” McFarlane explained. “He bent over backwards to ensure that everyone around him was safe, happy, and comfortable; not ever worrying as much for himself and what he was personally feeling. The true definition of compassionate. This word paralleling to anyone he came across him, who would definitely say the same.”

Our hearts go out to Fennessy’s friends and family.

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