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87th Commencement Honored Another High-achieving Class

June 6, 2018

With a composite ACT of 27.5 – among the highest in the school’s 89-year history – and five “perfect” ACT scores, the Class of ’18 is poised as one of the Friars’ greatest representatives.

As final exams conclude at Fenwick High School this week, the 308 members of the Class of 2018 have received their diplomas and are finalizing college plans. Notably, the class had one of the highest composite ACT scores (27.5) in school history.


“Twenty-two of our outgoing seniors have been recognized in the National Merit Scholarship Program: six were finalists and 11 were commended,” reported Richard Borsch, Fenwick associate principal and long-time director of student services. “Another five students have been named as National Hispanic Recognition Finalists.”

Highlights among the class’s other notable accomplishments:


Valedictorian: Jacob Mazur

Elmwood Park, IL resident Jacob Mazur is the Fenwick valedictorian for 2018, while Riverside, IL resident Nora O’Connor is the salutatorian. “Beyond their grade point averages, we are so proud of these two, versatile young people for everything else they have accomplished while here at Fenwick,” Mr. Borsch said, adding that his praise extends beyond the pair of honors students’ academic achievements and stellar test scores.

Mazur was a member of Fenwick TEAMS (Tests of Engineering Aptitude, Mathematics, and Science) and WYSE (Worldwide Youth in Science & Engineering) squads that have won state and national titles, and he was captain of the Mathematics Team that won the Archdiocese of Chicago Championship. An Eagle Scout, he also was a well-respected student mentor among his peers, Borsch pointed out, and was chosen by the faculty as a Kairos retreat leader. In his spare time, Mazur served as sound manager of the stage and technical crew for The Blackfriars Guild stage productions.


Salutatorian: Nora O'Connor

O’Connor was a straight-A student during her entire time at Fenwick. She started AP (Advanced Placement) classes as a sophomore and finished this spring with an invitation-only seminar beyond calculus led by Mathematics Chair Roger Finnell. She also was a member of Scholastic Bowl and played softball for the Friars all four years. Highly competitive in and out of the classroom, one faculty member observed that “Nora is not in it for the grade,” but rather she possesses an innate curiosity and is willing to listen to others and consider what they are saying.

“Jacob and Nora truly personify Fenwick’s four pillars of Dominican Spirituality, which are Prayer, Preaching, Community and Study,” noted Borsch. Mazur and O’Connor both are heading to college at the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.

The student commencement speaker, elected by his classmates, was University of Illinois-bound Teagan White. In addition to playing soccer at Fenwick, White was a member of the National Honor Society and was named as an Illinois State Scholar as well as a Presidential Award winner.

702 Scholarships & 3 Military Appointments

Principal Peter Groom concluded by noting that “179 members of Fenwick’s Class of 2018 have been awarded 702 scholarships from 159 universities and foundations. Monetarily, that translates to almost 60% of the class receiving academic recognition in excess of $38 million. At least 10 Fenwick seniors are going to college tuition-free, including academic and athletic ‘full-ride’ scholarships. May 25th was their day to celebrate four years of diligent studies and time management. We congratulate each one of them and officially welcome them to the Fenwick Alumni Family.”


So where are these new Fenwick alumni going to college for the 2018-19 academic year? “Friar Nation’s” latest class will spread to 32 states and Washington, D.C. At least one senior has been accepted at 27 of the “Top 50” colleges as ranked by U.S. News & World Report. Notably, Alex Pup has been accepted by the United States Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado, where he will play baseball. Casey McCormick and Brooke West, meanwhile, have been accepted by the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; Ms. West will be a member of the Navy swimming team.

In addition to these three U.S. military academy appointments, 87 other Fenwick Friars have been accepted to highly selective colleges such as: Boston College, Bowdoin College, Case Western Reserve, Cornell University, University of Chicago, Fordham, Georgetown, UCLA, Holy Cross, University of Illinois (Champaign), Kenyon College, Lehigh University, University of Michigan, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Olin College of Engineering, University of Pennsylvania, Providence, Rose-Hulman Institute, University of Southern California, Tulane, Vanderbilt University, Villanova and the University of Wisconsin (Madison).

Fenwick’s 2018 graduates will attend a total of 107 institutions of higher learning. Here is a breakdown of the Top 21 schools enrolling Friars:

University of Illinois - Urbana/Champaign (37)
Loyola University Chicago (16)
Marquette University (15)
Indiana University (12)
University of Notre Dame (11)
DePaul University (8)
University of Iowa (8)
St. Louis University (8)
University of Illinois - Chicago (7)
Purdue University (7)
DePauw University (6)
University of Missouri (6)
Boston College (5)
Arizona State University (5)
University of Dayton (5)
Illinois State University (4)
Miami University - Ohio (4)
Michigan State University (4)
University of South Carolina (4)
Western Michigan University (4)
University of Wisconsin - Madison (4)

Class of 2018 'Brag Sheet'


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