The CMHS Alumni Spotlight showcases and recognizes outstanding Cardinal Mooney Alumni for their academic and professional achievements, service to their community, and their continuation of Cardinal Mooney’s tradition of “Sanctity, Scholarship, and Discipline”. With the Alumni Spotlight, we will explore and regularly share the diverse accomplishments of our graduates.
Jennifer DeSocio Kovacs
Jennifer DeSocio Kovacs, a 1991 graduate of Cardinal Mooney High School, is a Speech Language Pathologist and co-owner of Kids Choice Pediatric Rehab & Therapy Center in Boardman, Ohio. The Center provides Speech, Occupational, and Physical therapy to patients from birth through adulthood. Formed in 2009, Kids Choice will be celebrating its tenth anniversary this October. Kids Choice began treating children in a local school and then opened its first outpatient clinic in the Creekside Plaza in Boardman. The Center’s most recent move has been to 8561 Market Street in Boardman, Ohio which is a free-standing, approximately 10,000 square foot building, that has been renovated to house a state-of-the art rehab facility. Kids Choice now employs over 25 therapists and staff. The Therapy Center celebrated its new space with a Grand Opening and Chamber of Commerce Ribbon Cutting on December 14, 2018.
Kids Choice Pediatric Rehab not only administers outpatient rehabilitation, but also provides services to local schools and agencies such as Cardinal Mooney and The Rich Center for Autism at Youngstown State University as well as The Rich Center’s program at St. Charles School in Boardman. Other schools and agencies benefiting from Kids Choice therapy services include Turning Point/No Limits, The Purple Cat, Stambaugh Charter Academy, and the Academy for Urban Scholars.
Over the past 18 years, Jennifer has worked as a Speech Language Pathologist in many facilities in the Youngstown area as well as in Canton and Cleveland. She has provided consultation services and has served on an Autism team who traveled to school districts to aid in the appropriate classroom design for children on the Autism Spectrum. While Jennifer has worked with both children and adults, she recognized a real need for a Pediatric Rehab facility in the Youngstown area. Her love of children and desire to help them has been evident since she was young. She spent many hours throughout high school and college as a respite care provider and preschool and daycare associate; she spent summers home from college working as a camp counselor for the special needs’ population. Jennifer is a member of the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association as well as a member of the Ohio Board of Speech-Language Pathology and Audiology.
Jennifer graduated in December 1996 from Bowling Green State University with a Bachelor of Science in Communication Disorders. She was then accepted into the graduate program for Speech-Language Pathology at Nova Southeastern University (NSU) in Davie, Florida and graduated in 2001 with a Master of Science in Speech-Language Pathology. While at Nova she was awarded the Augmentative and Alternative Communication Grant. She was trained for 8 months to evaluate patients and obtain computer devices that would allow non-verbal clients to use technology to communicate. With the assistance of her supervisor, Jennifer was instrumental in implementing a brand new program at NSU called the “Therapy Learning Connection” (TLC Program). This was the beginning of a transdisciplinary intervention program for children with severe communication problems. The children participated in 18 hours a week of therapy in an adapted classroom with increased technology and electronic devices to increase communication skills.
Jennifer recalls her years at Cardinal Mooney High School as some of the best years of her life, a time when she made lifelong friendships. She credits Cardinal Mooney for providing her with so many opportunities to be involved in high school activities, to volunteer in the community and to gain the confidence to take risks to become successful in life. Cardinal Mooney also helped her to strengthen her faith in God and that is what helps her to face challenges in her personal and professional life. She has learned that owning a business is very difficult at times and without faith, it would be impossible.
While at Cardinal Mooney High School, Jennifer was Secretary of Student Council, President of the Spanish Club, Co-Captain of the cheerleading squad, and a member of the track and softball teams. She was also very honored to be chosen as Homecoming Queen her senior year. She has so many fond memories of students, teachers, and coaches that mentored her throughout her four years at CMHS.
The late 80s and early 90s were an amazing time at Cardinal Mooney. She remembers coming in as a freshman and the football team winning the 1987 State Championship. As a cheerleader, she spent many years at games, Victory Bell, rallies, painting signs, and riding the bus to the games. There were so many wonderful times with friends, playing on sports’ teams, ski trips, dances, etc. Jennifer cherishes her years at Cardinal Mooney to this day. Jennifer currently volunteers her time as a member of the Cardinal Mooney Alumni Relations Committee.
Jennifer DeSocio Kovacs has been married to her husband, Arthur David Kovacs for 21 years. They have two daughters and reside in Boardman, Ohio. Natalie, 15 years old, is a sophomore at Cardinal Mooney and Leah, 7 years old, is a second grader at St. Charles. Jennifer is very proud of her family and especially proud that her girls will now also be Mooney Cardinals!
When Jennifer is not at work, she can be found travelling with family and friends, enjoying her children’s sporting events, and attending theatre and concert performances. One of her favorite hobbies is photography. You will most likely see her taking pictures everywhere she goes! Jennifer, the oldest child in the DeSocio family, also has two younger brothers who are also Cardinal Mooney graduates (Peter DeSocio, Class of 1993 and Joel DeSocio Class of 1995). Jennifer would like to thank Cardinal Mooney for the Alumni Spotlight. She is truly honored!
To learn more about Kids Choice Pediatric Rehab & Therapy Center, visit their website: kidschoicepediatric.com