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Westporter Leaves His Mark at Columbia

After four years at one of the most challenging schools in the nation, Andrew Kennedy sees this summer as an opportunity to take time off back home in Westport and to zero-in on career opportunities. The former Staples High School Wrecker graduated with a bachelor's degree in history from Columbia University and left behind more than a few marks in the Lions varsity football record book.

"I loved Columbia," said Kennedy. "It was a great experience, and I wouldn't change a thing." As football captain this year, the starting tight end earned All-America honors and led the team in total receiving yards. Kennedy juggled his sport with an Ivy League student's full-time academic schedule. During the fall and spring semesters, he balanced four-hour practices with five or more classes.

The big question now is what Kennedy plans to do with his degree. The 21-year-old briefly considered a career in football but decided to put the sport behind him and focus on new passions and interests. He's been interviewing at a number of firms — in television, film and Internet — but a tough job market seems to be limiting his chances.

Over the past month, the unemployment rate dropped below 9 percent for the first time since April 2009 and graduating seniors are hoping this means the economy is turning around. Kennedy may be leaving football behind, but he's using a sports mentality of hard work and determination in his pursuit of a career.

"You need to rely on the tools at your disposal, and get in touch with a network of people," Kennedy said. "It's not just served up on a silver platter; it's ultimately up to you what you do."

Do you know a local graduate with a great story? Email reporter Vanessa Inzitari at vinzitari@thedailywestport.com .

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