Jack Schlossberg stepped away from grad school applications on Tuesday night to host the 2016 John F. Kennedy New Frontier Awards.
Schlossberg, the only grandson of former President John F. Kennedy and Jacqueline Kennedy, was at the JFK Library in Boston to present Compton, California, Mayor Aja Brown and Bard Prison Initiative founder Max Kenner as this year’s honorees.
“This event is particularly important to me because it’s about young people and young leaders, and I think that there’s a sense among people of my generation that … it seems like there may not be that much that you can do to help,” Schlossberg, 23, told PEOPLE at the event. “But these people that we honored here tonight really demonstrate that if you are committed, if you do want to make a difference, that you can. And it’s great to celebrate young people who do that themselves, so we can have an example to look up to.”
While Schlossberg – who is the youngest of Caroline Kennedy’s three children – said that it’s “important to be invested in politics,” he insisted he doesn’t have his sights set on following in his grandfather’s footsteps. (At least not yet.)
“I’m more focused on getting my applications done on time,” he said.
Schlossberg – a 2015 Yale grad – is currently applying to grad school and studying for the Graduate Record Examination from his home in New York City. He also confirmed he took the Law School Admission Test a month ago, “so fingers crossed.”
The young Kennedy, who until last month worked for the State Department Bureau of Oceans, Environment and Science, might not be campaigning himself anytime soon, but he did share his opinion on the 2016 presidential election – and President-elect Donald Trump.
“Well, you know, one side is always disappointed when their candidate doesn’t win, so I certainly felt that way this time,” he admitted. “And while that’s true, I think it’s important to approach this election with an open mind, but at the same time to be ready and willing to stand up for progressive values and President Obama‘s legacy.”
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While Schlossberg felt he couldn’t speak to what his late grandfather would have thought of Trump, he said that JFK would have been “inspired by how involved my generation currently is.”
“I’d say he’d be hopeful about how much work we have to do as a country and that we can all get it done,” he told PEOPLE.
The New Frontier Awards honor an exceptional elected official as well as an individual in the realm of community service, advocacy or activism.
Brown became the youngest mayor in the history of Compton when she was elected in 2013 at age 31. She’s since significantly reduced violence and crime in the city, and brought jobs and redevelopment projects to the area, according to the JFK Library.
Kenner’s Bard Prison Initiative helps bring higher education to those incarcerated in six prisons across New York State. According to the JFK Library, 83 percent of graduates of the program are employed in the public and private sector.
- Reporting by JULIET PENNINGTON