Dr. Joyce Kenner, a legend

Angelina Hutto


Dr. Joyce Kenner is a wonderful and successful woman who is the principal at Whitney Young Magnet High School. Dr. Kenner is honorable for her persistent effort to make Whitney Young a place of positivity and community. As she says in her Welcome biography on the Whitney Young home page, “ It is my hope that we (educators in and outside of the classroom, parents and community members) will work together as a supportive family for each of our children: it does take a village to guide a child towards the development of commendable character and academic acuity.

I most admire Dr. Kenner for her passion for pushing for success. Especially in a school with such a diverse selection of students as Whitney Young has, the concept of a community working together in unison is vital for success. Dr. Kenner will stop at nothing to make sure the Whitney Young Community is thriving as a whole.

Earlier this school year, I had a situation with other students at Whitney Young in which I was being bullied online. I was disturbed by these incidents so much that it impacted my view of the school as a whole. I thought that everyone was judgmental and ludicrously mean and I believed that no one was doing anything to stop it. I started to compare Whitney Young’s social structure to the North Shore High School cliques from Mean Girls; diverse but separate. Thankfully, I decided to go to Dr Kenner about my problem. She explained her zero tolerance bullying policy as “ Any student found cyberbullying or bullying another student will be given an automatic 3 day out of school suspension. We are also required by our District to report this incident in Verify. This information could be shared with potential colleges students apply to.“

Together, we talked through the issues I was having at school and she took action to bring down the students who were giving me issues and mediate conversations between us. I admired that she did this because it gave us as students a chance to work out our problems between ourselves without the worry of argument or the like. Dr Kenner worked hard to ensure that my view of Whitney Young was not compromised because of my experiences.

Kenner’s persistence for keeping the positive community of Whitney Young alive helped me and many other of my fellow students. As a student with mental health issues, she helped me to feel safe, secure, and accounted for in a community largely made up of highly intelligent students. She has dedicated herself to students, which is a lot more than can be said about most people, but most importantly she has dedicated herself to our school and community as a whole, and constantly strives to make Whitney Young a better and better place. Kenner explains in the  Whitney Young Weekly the moment she realized she would never stop trying to improve “I had put a notice in all teachers’ mailboxes about cleanliness and preparation for the start of the new year.  A notice was put back into my box with a typographical error circled in red. The person told me, ‘We never make these types of mistakes at Whitney Young.’ I never forgot that lesson and I continue to strive to make our school the best it can be!”

Dr Kenner is one of the strongest, wisest, and most ambitious people I know. Through her actions, efforts, and explanations, she has demonstrated her admiration and respect for us as a community, and she has displayed her constant drive for success.