DALLAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – A group of Dallas Independent School District (DISD) students had an up close look at the ceremony honoring John F. Kennedy, Friday.

Eighth-graders from Kennedy-Curry Middle School wrote essays about the life, legacy and lessons the President left behind.

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Dallas city leaders invited those same students to attend the commemoration on Dealey Plaza.

The 205 students and teachers stood in the cold and rain — paying close attention when the program began.

The young ones have studied Kennedy’s Presidency in school.

The winners of the essay contest, announced earlier this week, spoke of the profound impact Kennedy had on the civil rights movement, and desegregation.

“If we didn’t have the freedoms to pursue school without segregation, and didn’t have the same learning opportunities as most people, then I wouldn’t be able to grow up to pursue my dream,” said Curtis Frazier, who placed 3rd in the contest.

When he grows up, Curtis says he hopes to become a chemist and study to find cures for diseases.

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Teriana Ward, who dreams of one day becoming a veterinarian, placed 1st in the essay contest.

♦♦♦Read The Winning Essay: “The Affects of John Fitzgerald Kennedy’s Presidency On Today’s Society”♦♦♦

Experiencing the ceremony firsthand is something she now holds dear. “I’m getting the opportunity to watch and discover and see the things that [Kennedy] did. His speeches are amazing,” said Ward.

The students were born more than 35 years after the 35th President was assassinated in Dallas, but through their pursuit of excellence, his legacy lives on.

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