Guest Blog: FRIARS FOR LIFE

A Fenwick father explains why his highly regarded twin daughters — student-athletes Caroline and Cecilia Jenkins ’19 — are staying put at Fenwick instead of transferring to an elite, East Coast prep school.

By Paul Jenkins ’81

Cecilia Jenkins ’19

I can’t tell you how I felt when the call came in. I knew it was coming, and yet I hesitated to pick up the phone when I saw the number in my caller ID. One of the country’s premier boarding schools* was calling to offer my twin daughters scholarships for their senior year. Juniors at Fenwick, they needed only to say ‘yes’ to be carried away into the ivy-covered embrace of East Coast privilege.

They’re hockey players, and the head coach at the prep school had been recruiting them for years.  We’d been to visit the school several times. The coach had come to watch them play in tournaments around the U.S. and Canada. My wife and I had always said ‘no;’ we couldn’t see sending our youngest off to boarding school.

But the truth is, we all love that school. Imagine Hogwarts, filled with students who open every door; who greet every stranger by looking them in the eye and smiling; who almost uniformly go on to elite schools and then achieve greatness in life. Centuries of intellectual and athletic prowess seem to cling to the old stone walls of the place. The list of alumni reads like who’s who of American politics, literature and industry.

And we love the coach. He’s one of the most impressive people we’ve ever known. His athletes and his students adore him. We’d love to have our girls play for him.

I hung up the phone and told them it was official: They’d been tendered an offer and were on their way east. I was proud. I was sort of shocked. I was a little sad. My youngest would be moving away a year early.

But the girls said ‘no.’

Caroline Jenkins ’19

They couldn’t hold back their tears. They choked on those tears and it took both of them, together, to say, “We want to stay at Fenwick.” The floodgates opened:

  • They named teachers they wanted to thank at graduation.
  • They talked about their teammates — both hockey and water polo — and what they wanted to achieve with them as seniors.
  • They talked about classmates, coaches, carpools, dances, school plays, lunch-table discussions, the German Club, the Write Place and all the little things they’d be leaving behind if they took the offer.

All of those things, together, are the Fenwick experience.

I didn’t need to ask if they needed time to think about it.

In half-year’s time (God willing) there will be a couple of twin girls who will earn their diplomas with their classmates in the Fenwick class of 2019.  Their parents will likely continue to reflect on what might have been, but I don’t think they will. They made a mature, informed decision, and they’ve never looked back.

Fenwick is in their blood.

The Hill School is a coeducational preparatory boarding school located on a 200-acre campus located approximately 35 miles northwest of Philadelphia. Annual tuition is $59,050 (for boarding students) for the 2018-19 academic year.

 

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Fenwick Athletes Find Success at the American Water Polo National State Challenge

It was a productive summer showing for polo-playing Friars in the pool!

By Kyle Perry ’01, Head Boys’ Varsity Water Polo Coach

For the second year in a row, the American Water Polo National State Challenge, July 12, 13, 14, and 15, was held at Fenwick High School’s state-of-the-art Dan O’Brien Natatorium.  “We were excited to return to Chicago for the 2018 National State Challenge,” stated AWP Director of Membership Damon Newman. “Last year’s tournament was a success with many competitive games played.  We are looking forward to the potential participation of teams from throughout the country.”  Teams from Illinois, Connecticut, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Tennessee all participated in the high school boys and high school girls tournament.

Paulina Correa ’19

On the girls’ side, the Windy City Water Polo team consisted of returning members of the Fenwick girls’ water polo team, which finished 2nd in the IHSA State Tournament last spring.  After the first four games, the team entered their championship game undefeated.  The team had outscored opponents 68 to 25 in the first four games with wins over Chicago Water Polo Club 24-7, Pittsburgh AQ 15-9, Red Hawks 12-3 and NIPC 17-6.  The championship game saw a back and forth battle between Greenwich AQ and Windy City.  Though Windy City jumped out to an early 2-0 lead, Greenwich AQ was able to get two more goals before the end of the first quarter.  The second and third quarter were much the same, ending in a 4-4 tie and then 7-7.

After five minutes of scoreless action in the 4th, Greenwich AQ found the back of the net to go up 8-7.  Two Windy City goals in the final minute of play sealed the deal and gave the 2018 National State Challenge Championship to Windy City.  The 2018 National State Challenge Champions, all returning Fenwick student athletes, were Paulina Correa, Kassy Rodriguez, Harper Daniels, Xonhane Medina, Alyssa Sayatovic, Payton Nefur, Jorie Silvis, Sam Rodriguez, Cici Jenkins, Tegwyn Hollenbach, Ellie Kaiser and Caroline Doyle.

Dan Lynch ’19

On the boys’ side, Fenwick boys found themselves on opposite teams fighting for the championship.  Windy City Water Polo, which consisted of many Fenwick student-athletes, managed its way to the championship game with victories over LAW 12-11, Cincinnati Marlines 18-6, Vulture 15-10 and Chicago Parks Green 15-6.  The Vulture win in the semi-finals was particularly satisfying as Vulture won that semi-final game last year at the National State Challenge 6-3.  Vulture, a team made up of mainly athletes from Naperville Central also bested the Fenwick team the last two years in the state tournament, including last spring’s IHSA Championship Game.  Both schools will likely be in competition for a state championship in 2019!

The Chicago Park District team also went undefeated heading into the championship game.  In the final game, the Windy City boys had many chances but could not capitalize on the numerous exclusion fouls called on the Chicago Park District.  Going two for 18 on the power play hurt the team’s chances of hoisting the championship trophy.  At the end of one, Windy City trailed 2-1.  This lead grew for the Chicago Park District, which was led by Friars Ivan Soto ’18, Ramses Flores ’19, and Alejandro Perez ’18 to 5-1 at halftime.  Each team scored twice in third period.

Chicago Park District stretched the lead to 9-4.  Two final goals by Windy City ended the game 9-6.  Windy City was led by Fenwick’s Payton Comstock ’19, Dan Lynch ’19, Nate Fisher ’19, Alex Figus ’19, Chris Magyla ’19, Manny Ruiz ’19, Jack Nettleton ’20, Dan Bajda ’20, Diego Sahagun ’20, Brian Moore ’21, Wil Gurksi ’21, Pete Buinauskas ’21, and Caden Giesdorf ’21.  Comstock was named to the All-Tournament Team.

In addition to a 2nd-place finish in the American Water Polo National State Championship, the largely Fenwick-based Windy City Water Polo club went 10-0 in the high school boys’ summer league.