As 2018 draws to a close, an alumnus shares his personal story about the importance of all alumni Friars giving back to their beloved high school alma mater.
By Jack Flynn ’51
When I graduated from Fenwick in 1951 and moved on to the University of Notre Dame, I discovered that I was better prepared for college than many of my classmates. I also thought that I was at Fenwick during their Golden Years with almost a complete staff of Dominican priests in every position except athletics.
When my son, Michael, graduated from Fenwick in 1977 and went to Michigan, he also found that he was much more prepared for college than most of his classmates. He also discovered that he had such a wonderful group of Fenwick classmates that it was great to get a job in Chicago and be socially engaged with the same pals he had in high school, plus some from grammar school.
“Young men and women with strong learning skills, faith and discipline can succeed even during these difficult times.” – Fenwick Friar Jack Flynn
Now I have four grandchildren who have graduated from Fenwick and seem to be on a path to do better than the parents or their grandparents. [One grandson presently is a junior.] Young men and women with strong learning skills, faith and discipline can succeed even during these difficult times. It takes great leadership and strong support from alumni and friends to keep Fenwick at the top of its game.
High school is very important in the development of young people, and I would guess that 80% of the students are indebted to Fenwick for a good portion of their success in college – and that carries forward. Close to 100% of the students that were serious about doing well in high school are probably delighted by the outcome.
We should all step forward to support Fenwick with a meaningful gift. Fenwick is not asking you for a great sacrifice, but at least to do something that indicates you feel good about the education you received.
Please consider making a gift today.
About the Author
Jack Flynn is a 2006 inductee of Fenwick’s Hall of Fame. He and his wife, Stephanie, have been married for 62 years and reside in River Forest, IL. Mr. Flynn still goes into his Cicero, IL office almost daily at Vend-Rite Manufacturing, which he purchased 30 years ago and in which he stills owns a partial interest. (The company has served the coin-laundry industry since 1966 with its reliable soap dispensers.)
Over the years, he has been a tireless contributor to opportunities for young people who may not be privileged enough to receive high-quality education. In 2000 Flynn founded the tutoring program at Washington Irving Elementary School in Oak Park. He also helped San Miguel open a school in the Austin neighborhood of Chicago (which has since closed).“I still tutor at Irving and some inner-city schools,” says Jack, now 84, “mostly to keep myself out of trouble.”
His five grandchildren mentioned above are:
- Jim Krecek ’13 graduated from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI) in upstate NY, where he played football. A private pilot, he is employed as an aeronautical engineer at Boeing in Washington state.
- Colin Flynn ’15 is a senior engineering major at the University of Iowa. “Colin is quite entrepreneurial,” according to his proud Grandpa.
- Michael Krecek ’15 is a senior finance major at the University of Notre Dame (and an avid boxer).
- Kate Krecek ’17, an Illinois State Scholar while a senior at Fenwick, attends Saint Mary’s College in Indiana.
- Christian Flynn ’20 is a junior at Fenwick.
Jack’s late brother, Tom Flynn ’53, also was a Friar. Jack’s alumnus son, Michael Flynn ’77, is the chief operating officer of NAI Hiffman, a commercial real estate firm based in Oakbrook Terrace. Read about the firm’s founder, Denny Hiffman ’60, another Friar from Fenwick!