This is a safe place to share your honest opinions of a school, whether good or bad.
Fenwick High School5
Posted April 10, 2015
- a community member
I'm an alumni from 1983, but here's my feedback: The education at this school was very very solid. You will be challenged but you will gain knowledge that will carry you through life. A few examples: The rigorous English classes allowed me to skip English in college. The chemistry class I had in junior year used the same book they used at the University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign. The rigorous math program built the problem-solving and thinking skills that later allowed me to successfully earn my engineering degree. My four years of Spanish allowed me to be sent to run project in Puerto Rico only 6 years later . . .and to later find my wife, who spoke no English when I met her . Work hard here . . .and your path in life will be easier !
I didn't enjoy my freshmen year at Fenwick, but once I opened my mind a bit, I saw that the school went past the matching skirts and school shield posted everywhere. Sure, Fenwick isn't perfect, but is any school? The people I met at Fenwick will forever be my best friends, favorite teachers, and some of most inspiring people I've ever met. Fenwick challenged me academically, socially and spiritually which is exactly what I needed out of high school. Also, unlike many believe, I am not catholic, a legacy, or super-conservative, and I still felt welcome by everyone who was. Leaving Fenwick was a sad day, but it left me prepared for college and beyond, and I know I'm welcome back anytime I feel the need to visit.
Reading some of the reviews, yes, Fenwick is not as racially diverse as some schools, but the administration is trying to fix it. Fenwick is getting more diverse each year. Also, Fenwick is a college preporatory school. Teachers will not hold your hand, email your mom, or call home (unless you are ditching). In college, teachers won't do that either. If your child wants to be in honors classes, but doesn't test in, the administration will let the child into honors if the parent believes that the child can handle it. It's happened with one of my friends. Turns out, they are getting over a 4.0. Fenwick requires you to work hard. However, if you study, you should do well. If you don't understand something, teachers will help you if you ask or email them. There is even a tutoring system set up. I noticed a few reviews were about snobby people. Yes, many families are wealthy, but I have not met more than three out of the 1200 teens that go to Fenwick are snobby. That is an extremely high, less than 1%. Fenwick is a great school. I would recommend it for everyone who has high goals.
We have had three children attend Fenwick. Our sons have graduated and, with the help of Fenwick, both are attending their top choice college. Both worked hard while at Fenwick and feel that it prepared them for college. Our daughter is currently attending Fenwick and we were a little concerned about how she would adjust, but she is doing fine and is involved in sports, two science clubs, and the school paper. Fenwick is not perfect and it is not for everyone -- the work is hard and there is not a lot handholding by the faculty. While some of the students are wealthy and flaunt it many more are not -- kind of like the real world. If the goal is to prepare you child for college Fenwick is a solid choice w/ 100% of the graduates attending colleges ranging from Top schools (MIT, Brown, Yale, Harvard, ND) to the Big Ten(Northwestern, Michigan, Illinois, etc.) to Jesuit Universities(BC, Georgetown, Creighton, St. Louis, John Carroll, Gonzaga, Marquette, etc. ) to smaller Universities (Tufts, Johns Hopkins, Denison, Dayton, etc.). Also the faculty is not perfect but 4 Golden Apple teachers at one school is rare.
My child went here for one year. I also had a child attend Oak Park River Forest HS. I never heard a peep from a single teacher at Fenwick. I would get emails and calls from the teachers at OPRF about my other child's progress. The staff and faculty are extremely cliquish and really into the Fenwick name. I didn't care for the elite, wealthy kids who were my childs' friends. They were not a good influence on her behavior. It is not a diverse atmosphere at all, although they have a few token blacks. If you are an educated, working mom, realize that the Fenwick Mothers' Club is designed for stay at home Catholic mommies who enjoy going to boutiques after mass.
My son attended fenwick. He was not happy at all. He received a great education and got into college of his choice. Fenwick do what there past alumni want them to do which is pamper there alumni. They dont allow black student to challege themselves. they keep them out the honor program. I had to fight with them on several occasion about letting my son take science or elective classes. He played the paino for 8 years and wasnt able to get into the band. I can go on, my advice to black parent is be aware of racism because it does exist at Fenwick. I gave them a 3 star because he did receive a good education that help him to tackle any challeges in the future. I paid every dime for his education, no help at all! We refuse to let our daughter go to this school. Thats just how bad it was.
I need to counter some of the reviews I've read. I came in NOT a legacy, NOT wealthy, and from THE CITY. Fenwick welcomed me into its very real community (what we call the Fenwick family). Yes, there are a lot of kids from the western suburbs, and most hover around upper middle class--but I fit in fantastically, thrived in the environment, and still thank God every day that I am a Friar. Fenwick was the best thing that ever happened to me. The faculty are outstanding and very caring and supportive. The students in general are talented and driven but also just genuinely nice kids and not super cliquey (especially by senior year). Fenwick made me see my potential for great things, but imbued me with a dedication to helping others (which is true of my fellow classmates as we now finish up college). God willing I have the funds, I will without a doubt send my children to Fenwick.
I tested into Fenwick with barely any any legacy (My Mother's cousins went here, but they're not that closely related and haven't given enough money to the school to get me in on that). I came from a public school that was, to put it nicely, a bit inadequate. I see some posts about Fenwick kids being snobs, but never once have I seen that to be true, outside of one or two individuals. I have never seen kids teased for being part of the work-studies program, and am am personally on a scholarship. Feniwck is a great place for gifted students. Unlike at public schools, i've never seen anyone ridiculed for being a "nerd" or for being part of an academic club like the Junior Technical and Engineering Squad, which by the way, took 2nd in the nation last year.Diversity isn't great at fenwick, but I've never seen a single discriminating remark made to a minority student. The faculty is phenomianl (89%) have an advanced degree, including multiple golden apple teachers. They are always willing to help a student, and to meet advanced students' needs teachers have taught classes with only one or two students. Other help for students is a peer tutoring program available to anyone which I use.
I'm currently in my junior year at this school, and I absolutely love it. The first year I was at Fenwick, I wasn't a fan. However, once I started getting more involved in activities and making more friends, it's grown to be my home. Fenwick is pretty much what you make it. The kids who don't get involved, stay silent in class, and never venture out from their cliques won't like Fenwick as much as they could. For the kids who really make an effort to get involved in the school, the school returns the effort. The sense of community at Fenwick is like none other. Yes, Fenwick has it's issues. The lack of diversity (which the administration IS trying to work on) economically and racially is something of a running joke at Fenwick, but if you're different than the rich, white norm than by no means are you made to feel excluded. I occasionally sigh from the lack of updated technology, but I also know the administration is working on it. Fenwick can be kind of a dysfunctional family, but at the end of the day, it really is family. This sense of family is something you really can't get at these bigger public schools, even the well-ranked ones. People genuinely care about one another.