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Collegiate Friars: November 2021

November 2, 2021

Catching up with young alumni Sebastian De La Cruz '19 and Margo McFadden '20.

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SEBASTIAN DE LA CRUZ

Fenwick Graduation: 2019
Hometown: Chicago
Grade School: St. Celestine
Current School: University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Major: Integrative Biology

Summer Internship: Over the summer I worked as an undergraduate research assistant at the University of Chicago. It was an amazing experience that further developed my love for service. My team and I spent the summer researching the health of the Southside of the city. We would test and create data on environmental health and do surveys on the health of the population while also trying to examine disparity within different districts and incomes. Not only was the work extremely fulfilling, my fellow undergrads and professors became great colleagues. One of my favorite memories this past summer was when we all went together to a Chicago White Sox game and had a great time socializing, eating, telling stories, and witnessing a great homerun win.

Career Aspirations: Ever since I was young, I always knew I wanted to serve others whether it was my community, my country, or those all over the world. I wanted to be a doctor and I wanted to serve in the military. Thankfully due to the ROTC program I am a part of at UIUC, I hope to make both of those dreams a reality. I recently contracted and I look to commission as an officer in the Army Medical Corps. I hope to travel and see the world through my service.

Fenwick Achievements/Activities: National Honor Society, Esports president and captain, Blackfriars Guild, SADD

Fenwick teacher who had the most influence on you: It’s hard to decide but ultimately, I would say it is a tie between Mr. Kleinhans and Mr. Wieckiewicz. Although I only had Mr. K as a teacher for a semester, he really taught me through our classroom prayer the lessons he learned in his life. As Fenwick students we would sometimes just go through the motions when it came prayer, however in his class we would make it into a special event. I’ll never forget my favorite story was when he told the class about a kid who threw a milkshake at the window of the Baskin Robbins he worked at and the lessons that came from it. I never actually had Mr. Wieckiewicz as a teacher but he was one of my faculty sponsors and coordinators for Esports and helped push the team to become a reality. We would talk every meeting about random things like video games and tv shows, and he was always kind enough to offer advice no matter what problems were going on within my life. The best advice he gave me was when I was not far off from graduating and he said, “Seabass, things may be tough now, but things will only get tougher and it’s how you react to and overcome those challenges that will reveal what you are truly capable of.”

Fenwick class that had the most influence on you: Easily the most influential class I had was English with Mr. Schoeph. I came in as a freshman not knowing what to expect from high school especially from one as esteemed as Fenwick. When I walked into his classroom, I soon learned what expectations would be placed upon me as a student. I was initially intimidated by his strict adherence to standards and discipline; however, I came to understand his reasoning. He truly cared for all of us as students and I genuinely came to respect him. I really struggled when it came to English, and I credit his class and Mr. O’Connor’s for helping me develop my writing and oratory skills. It’s strange to think that as a college student, I’ll turn in a final paper and receive an A from a university professor when I know Mr. Schoeph would have probably been a lot harsher and given me a B had it been his classroom.

Best Fenwick experience/the one you would like to live again: Although most Fenwick Alums would say Kairos, and while it was a fun time, I would say the most memorable times were the afternoons I spent with Esports. Every Wednesday we would train together and have small tournaments playing Smash Bros in the library and occasionally have pizza courtesy of Mr. Wieckiewicz. It was one of the first times while at Fenwick I felt like a leader, and it was thanks to those times that made me want to continue my athletic career in college. It even pushed me to try out and make the Illini Esports roster.

The Fenwick experience that changed you the most: My senior year was a tumultuous time for me as a student. While most of my classmates were set on their choice of schools, I was still unsure of what I wanted to do or where I was going to spend the next four years of my life. My health was deteriorating, and I was not performing as well as I had done before in class. It was through that time that I learned it was okay to fail and that making mistakes is valuable to learning and improving yourself as a person. My four years of schooling at Fenwick with all the teachers I had were meant to prepare me for anything that would come my way and that nothing was going to make me quit. Thanks to that experience my senior year, I earned an Army ROTC scholarship and I have grown as a leader in more ways than I could imagine.

MARGO McFADDEN

Fenwick Graduation: 2020
Hometown: La Grange Park, IL
Grade School: St. Francis Xavier
Current School: Texas Christian University (Fort Worth, TX)
Major: Finance (Minor: Global Business)

Summer Internship: Currently in the application process for next summer!

Career aspirations:  Investment banker

Fenwick Achievements/Activities: Varsity volleyball and soccer; International Politics Club, president; Broadcasting Club, and head of “Friar Nation” [on Twitter]

Fenwick teacher who had the most influence on you: Every teacher at Fenwick has had a positive impact on my life, but the most outstanding influence has been Ms. Wang. Ms. Shana Wang is the most brilliant person I have ever met. She brings a special energy to every class period and finds a way to get every, single student involved. If I never had Ms. Wang as a teacher I would not be nearly as confident as I am today. Alongside teaching English and literature she also teaches individuality. Ms. Wang makes an effort to learn about each of her student’s lives and embraces them in her daily lessons. Her classroom was more than just a room, it was a place where every student felt welcomed. Ms. Wang created the perfect environment for creativity, uniqueness, and academic success to thrive.

Fenwick class that had the most influence on you: The class that had the most impact on me was broadcasting class with Mr. O’Connor. In this class my senior year, I learned what a special place Fenwick is and how lucky I am to have spent four years of my life there. Making videos, doing morning announcements, and embracing friar nation made this class unforgettable.

Best Fenwick experience/the one you would like to live again: My last Fenwick soccer season during spring 2019, my junior year, we were Sectional Champs! (Senior-year season got cancelled because of COVID.)

What Fenwick experience changed you the most: Running “Friar Nation” [on Twitter] and doing morning announcements. Being so involved with school spirit really made me love Fenwick and our Friar Pride.

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