In 1974, Barbara and Frank Moyer’s oldest son, Mark, started kindergarten at John F. Kennedy Catholic School in Washington.
For 48 years, one of the couple’s children or grandchildren has been enrolled in school.
So far. That nearly half-century dating streak came to an end when the Moyers’ granddaughter, Gabriella McKenzie, graduated eighth grade on June 2.
“It’s pretty amazing when you think about it,” said Moyer, from Washington. “Every experience we’ve had at JFK has been positive. Over the years, it’s like a big family. All the teachers, from kindergarten to eighth grade, were wonderful. And I like that religious education is part of my children’s school life.
Moyer said she planned to put her kids in public schools, but her next-door neighbors “keep talking about how good JFK is.”
Mark, 54, was followed by sisters Amy Moyer, 50, Deborah Moyer, 41, Maria Moyer, 39 and Jennifer Pettit, who, at 35, is 19 years younger than her brother.
Meanwhile, when Jennifer was in eighth grade at JFK, Mark enrolled his daughter, Elizabeth, who was 3, in JFK’s preschool.
She was followed by her siblings, Jonathan and Isabella Moyer, and cousins Matthew, Tyler and Angelina Schuster, Dominic McDade (who attended for two years) and, finally, Gabby McKenzie.
Moyer’s children have shared some of the same teachers over the years, including middle school science teacher Rebecca Papson, who taught all five – along with some of Moyer’s grandchildren. Papson retired last year after teaching at JFK for 41 years.
Mark and Cherie Moyer have enrolled their three children, Elizabeth Blystone, 25, a 2019 graduate of Robert Morris University, Jonathan, 20, a rising junior at Bucknell University, and Isabella, 15, a sophomore at Canevin High School in Pittsburgh.
“It really depends on the teachers. They are like family,” Cherie Moyer said. “They loved, educated and, at times, disciplined our children. They are amazing.”
Barbara Moyer said JFK has remained true to its mission of working with families to educate and nurture their children, but one thing has changed: Nuns no longer teach at JFK.
“When our children went there, our first two in particular, there were nuns teaching, and now there are no nuns teaching,” she said. “At the time they started, the principal was a nun.”
The Moyers’ daughter, Amy, was a member of the final class of Immaculate Conception High School, which closed in 1989.
For six decades, the Moyers participated in school and extracurricular activities and sporting events. Frank Moyer coached his daughters’ volleyball teams and just last year helped coach Gabby’s volleyball team.
JFK manager Kimberly Stevenson said it was a milestone for the Moyer family to have a legacy of nearly 50 years of dating.
“I think it reflects the importance of tradition and a strong Catholic upbringing so that generation after generation follow in JFK’s footsteps,” Stevenson said. “It must have been meaningful for the kids, for them to have their own kids too.”
Maria Moyer said one of the things she was most grateful for was how teachers, administrators and students at JFK cared for Gabby, who was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in infancy. .
Maria is happy that she and her daughter were able to share the same educational experience.
“It means so much that Gabby was able to go. It was such a wonderful experience for me, and for her to have this opportunity to gain the same benefits as me, a strong faith-based education, it meant so much,” said Maria Moyer, “It really was like a family, and the sense of community, in my experience, is unmatched. And for Gabby, having had at least half a dozen teachers that I’ve had was a great experience.
Frank and Barbara Moyer may not spend as much time at JFK, but they will always be busy. They will be cheering on Isabella, who plays volleyball at Canevin High School, and Angelina, a member of the West Mifflin High School volleyball team. They also travel to Ohio to cheer on their grandchildren, Lily and Jackson Pettit, who play softball and baseball.
And, there is hope that a new attendance streak could begin at JFK.
The Moyers have a three-month-old granddaughter, Eliana Blystone.
“We don’t know if she’ll go (to JFK), it’s a little early to think about that,” Barbara Moyer said with a laugh. “Right now all my granddaughter Elizabeth is trying to do is get enough sleep to get by.”