On November 18, 2019, Mayor Kennedy was honored to participate in a grave marker unveiling ceremony at Butternut Ridge Cemetery.
The new marker recognizes the Peake and Cousins families, some of the first African-American settlers in the area. The marker was made possible because of the tenacity of a group of students from the North Olmsted Middle School. In discovering lots labeled “colored” in cemetery records, they decided to investigate further.
Students Rafel Alshakergi, Maya Elkhatib and Kameron Swanson conducted research and gained community support to place the granite marker, donated by the Johns-Carabelli Company. Mayor Kennedy shared his feeling of pride in these students for taking their passion for history beyond the classroom. North Olmsted teachers Debbie Holecko and Claudia Bestor were also recognized for their role in igniting the student’s curiosity and encouraging their efforts.
See national and local media coverage of this noteworthy project: