October 5, 2020
Catching up with fellow Chicagoans, 2016 Fenwick classmates and recent college graduates William “Liam” Bodlak and Jamie Pineda.
Fenwick Graduation: 2016
Grade School: St. Giles
College: Graduated from Valparaiso University (Indiana), May 2020
Current Major: Political Science/Business Administration
Summer Internship: I recently started as a Voter Contact Organizer for Miami/Dade County with For Our Future Florida, where I build relationships with voters, report to senior staff on concerns in the community, and provide resources to the people in the Miami area.
Career aspirations: Interning on Capitol Hill with Representative Danny K. Davis during my last semester of undergrad gave me a clearer picture of what I want to do career-wise, and I hope to one day return to the Hill in a staff role. Finding political solutions that assist and empower working-class and marginalized people is a worthwhile task, and one I hope to devote my life to. Once my campaign position ends in November, after the election is all wrapped up, I’ll be seeking a more permanent position in the political field.
Fenwick achievements/activities: Public Forum Debate, Blackfriars Guild, Varsity Tennis, Touchstone literary magazine, Veterans of Foreign Wars speech competition, Scholastic Bowl, The Wick student newspaper, Broadcasting Club, Concert Band. Class recipient of the Rev. Charles Leo Gainor Medal for Literary Excellence in Expository and Creative Writing.
Fenwick teacher who had the most influence on you: Although there were so many teachers who influenced and shaped me in one way or another, I’d have to say Ms. Logas. Going into my senior year, I felt like I was still trying to find my “place” at Fenwick, so to speak. I’d done plenty of extracurriculars, but I never felt completely satisfied with what I did. I went on Kairos in June and enjoyed it, but the whole time I felt like I was missing a sort of “fit” for myself that a lot of my classmates seemed to have found. My senior year, I had Ms. Logas for AP Gov and Speech & Debate, and she convinced me to join the Debate Team. I’m so happy I did. I was only a member of the team for my senior year, but it was my most rewarding experience at Fenwick. The research and rhetorical skills I developed doing debate are ones I use on a regular basis, and the people I met on the team are still some of my closest friends to this day. I went into debate figuring it’d be a good time and something to put on college applications, but I left debate having found a tight-knit circle of friends and a newfound sense of purpose. I have Ms. Logas, in large part, to thank for that.
Fenwick class that had the most influence on you: Aside from the aforementioned AP Gov and Speech & Debate, I’d say taking Creative Writing with Ms. Gallinari had a lot of influence on me. Writing has been a lifelong passion of mine, but I’ve always struggled with staying on task and organized with it. Creative Writing (as well as Honors English with Brother Byrd) provided that structure and organization that I needed and really increased my confidence in my writing abilities. I distinctly remember writing a piece for Brother Byrd’s satire unit and having it go over really well with the class, and it felt like such a strong affirmation that I could pursue my passions and express myself creatively. Receiving the faculty honor for Literary Excellence in Expository and Creative Writing was a great feeling as well, and being recognized for something I was (and still am) incredibly passionate about is one of my happiest memories from high school. I wrote for Valpo’s student newspaper for four years and wrote a lot for my Political Science courses/internships, and every time I had moments of doubt during that I thought back to those moments, the work I put in, and the way it felt to write something and have it resonate with other people.
Best Fenwick experience/the one you would like to live again: There are so many incredible memories, but I’d have to say BFG show weekends. The pre-show traditions, the nervous energy backstage before the show, and the adrenaline rush when you first step onto the stage and see the crowd are feelings I’m never going to forget. The 12 productions I performed in were all incredible, and I’m happy to have been a part of them.
What Fenwick experience changed you the most: Being able to debate in the Harvard National Invitational Forensics Tournament was a life-changing experience. Being relatively new to debate and participating in what is, arguably, the most prestigious high-school debate tournament in the U.S. was an incredible confidence-booster. Even though I never participated in organized, competitive debate after that year, the skills I learned under our coaches, Ms. Logas and Mr. Wieckiewicz, are skills I used throughout undergrad and in my current career.
Fenwick Graduation: 2016
Grade School: St. Pascal
College: Graduated from Lake Forest College (Lake Forest, IL), May 2020
Degree(s): BA Music Education and Education
Internship experience: The People’s Music School in Chicago (summer 2019)
Career aspirations: I just started working full time as the Orchestra Director for Zion Elementary District 6. My goal is to be the engaging music teacher who teaches students about not only music but also how we can learn other life lessons through music.
Fenwick achievements/activities: Blackfriars Guild, Art Club, French Club, National Honors Society
Fenwick teacher who had the most influence on you: Even though I never had her for class, Ms. Dactilidis was the best. She was my stage crew moderator and, in turn, became a second mom to me (since the auditorium became my second home). I sensed the passion and care she has for her students, even though I never had her in class. Math is not my preferred subject, so I’m glad I got to work with her one way or another.
Fenwick class that had the most influence on you: Probably String Orchestra with Mrs. Pendleton (to no surprise). I enjoyed being able to make music with my peers during the school day. Playing in an ensemble is one of the reasons I realized music is my passion.
Best Fenwick experience/the one you would like to live again: My time in the Blackfriars Guild (BFG) is, for sure, something I’d want to relive. I was on the stage crew for all four years of my time at Fenwick. By junior year, I decided also to participate in some cast experiences. Being in Urinetown as an ensemble member along with still working with the stage crew earned me the title of the “Cast to Crew Specialist” (shout out to Ms. Dactilidis for giving me this title). I made so many friends and memories during my time in BFG, and it truly was a huge part in fostering my love for the arts.
What Fenwick experience changed you the most: I know everyone says this, but it was definitely Kairos. I went with a group that I never associated myself with. Really, I was my only friend there. But Kairos gave me the opportunity to know what it feels like to be vulnerable in front of people. After that time, I was more inspired to break out of the shell I built for myself throughout most of my life. Having this vulnerability helped me to become the person I am today. This is especially true when I’m teaching. In my experience, my students learned better and trusted me more once they realized I was willing to be open with them. Making those connections and having open conversations is definitely a skill I learned in Kairos.
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