At age 14, Keaton Kukowski is a throwback to a bygone era. He loves watching old movies, is named after a famous actor and one of his favorite movies stars Abbott and Costello. On the other hand, he is a modern-day teenager who is comfortable with who he is and his faith.
I understand you and your dad like to watch old movies. How did you get into vintage films?
My mom loves watching them with us, too. My parents grew up watching old movies and they passed along their interest to me. It’s something we all enjoy doing together.
You’re named after the actor Buster Keaton. What do you think about that?
I am named after Buster Keaton and I think that’s cool. Not many people know who he is, so I enjoy telling them that he was a talented and popular comedian in the 1920s. Most people think I’m named after the actor Michael Keaton!
You’re one of the veteran altar servers. What do you like best about serving?
I like helping out in the church community by serving at Mass. It also gives me the chance to see some friends and make new friends with the other servers. I remember when I started out as an altar server and the more experienced ones showed me the ropes. They were very friendly and helped me learn, so I’m glad that I can pass that along to the younger servers now.
Last year, you were one of the young people from the parish who attended Vision 2013, a Catholic youth conference at the University of Notre Dame. How did that experience affect you?
Attending ND Vision affected me in a positive way. It made me think about others around me and what I can do to help those in need. It also helped me work toward being a better person. I met a lot of nice kids from around the country. We got to hang out and talk about our faith and share our interests. It was a lot of fun.
If there was one thing you learned there that will stay with you forever, what would it be?
I learned that no matter where you come from, we’re all the same.
Do you now find it easier to talk about and share your faith with others?
I’m not shy about my faith and don’t mind sharing it with others. I always try to do the right thing and treat others the way I want to be treated, so that’s a big part of sharing my faith.
Have you started to think about college and what you might like to do in the future?
I have thought about college. I love to draw, so I’ve thought of going to school for animation to create storyboards for cartoons you might see at the movies or on TV. I also like U.S. history, so I’m thinking of studying that, too. I have some time to decide, though.
Do you have a hero?
There are a number of people, and even characters in movies and literature that I admire; Gandalf in “The Hobbit” because he gave himself up for others, Indiana Jones because he’s adventurous (and knows his history), and my Mom and Dad because we have such a great relationship.
How would you describe who Keaton is?
A friendly person who cares about others.
How would you like people think about you?
I’d like others to look at me as a “go-to guy” who they can rely on, trust and be there for them.
Keaton Marshall Kukowski
Family: Dad Stephen, Mom Sharon, plus five furry siblings.
School: Sophomore at Notre Dame Junior-Senior High School.
Things you like to do in your spare time: Drawing, running, watching movies, playing video games.
Favorite book: “The Hobbit” by J.R.R. Tolkien.
Favorite movie: “Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein” and “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey.”
Favorite TV show: “The Regular Show.”
Favorite quote: “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given to us.” — Gandalf from “The Hobbit.”