The Impact of Your Gift to Fenwick

Having a 15-month-old baby brother helps to keep precious life in perspective for one Fenwick student.​


Sophia, a Fenwick senior, is the second of nine children in the FioRito household.


“I will always be appreciative of everything I’ve been blessed with,” proclaims Fenwick senior Sophia FioRito ’18 of Oak Park, which is where her growing family moved from suburban Addison a few years ago. “Having an excellent education, like Fenwick’s, can open so many doors to opportunities for success,” notes Sophia, who is a member of the National Honor Society and maintains a 3.6 GPA.

“I have eight siblings, seven of whom are younger,” continues Ms. FioRito, whose brother, Danny ’20, is a sophomore Friar and older sister, Isabella ’16, is a sophomore at the University of Chicago. Helena, one younger sister, is an eighth grader and future member of the Fenwick Class of 2022. Their father, Dan ’88, is a Friar alumnus along with his brothers, Kevin ’83 and Jim ’92. As the second oldest of her brothers and sisters, “I’ve had to learn to care about others’ needs and put them first.”

Her parents agree. “Sophia often takes on the responsibility as a ‘second Mom,’ caring for her younger siblings and always having fun with them,” says her mother, Deborah. The summer and fall of 2016 were far from fun, however. Sophia’s youngest brother was born four-and-a-half-months early and was hospitalized from August to December of last year.


Tiny Thomas FioRito was born four-and-a-half months early last August.

Many in the Fenwick Community will remember praying for baby Thomas. It was a tense four months for the family while they lived at the Ronald McDonald House in Hines, IL, as their brother and son was being cared for in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at nearby Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood. “Sophia really helped pull her siblings together to continue their studies and establish as much of a ‘normal’ routine in these not-so-normal circumstances,” adds Dan, her dad.

The Miracle Boy

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In Loco Parentis Does Not Mean ‘Crazy Parents:’ Why We Place So Much Value on Private Education

Fenwick High School, Oak Park, IL, was founded by Dominican Friars in 1929.

Parochial teachers serve as parental supplements, not substitutes — and therein lies the difference between the Fenwick community and its public-school counterparts.

By Gerald F. Lordan, O.P., Ph.D., Social Studies Teacher

Parents of parochial school students almost universally value their decision to choose religious-based programs over public education for the formation of their children. However, beyond intuition, parents sometimes find it difficult to articulate why they value that decision. An examination of the philosophical foundations of parochial education may enable us to understand on a rational level what we already value on an intuitive level.

Parochial schools have greater social capital than their public school counterparts. Social capital is the agreement among families concerning the core values which identify their behavior.  Parochial school communities often have great diversity among their families by ethnicity, geography, income, and language, but these schools are successful in achieving the goals of their ministries because there is a congruence of core values among families. Good families gravitate toward good schools with good community values. With their obligation to service all families within their geographic attendance area, public schools often have less value congruence and less social capital.

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