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Learning about the Big 3: Facts, Ideas and Values

December 12, 2019

A Forty-Niner alumnus and former Fenwick teacher reflects in the wake of his 70th class reunion.

By Jack Spatafora, PhD. ’49

Jack_Spatafora_frosh45_3rdRow_4thFromRightA section of Fenwick freshmen in 1945-46: Jack Spatafora is in the third row, fourth from the right.

Everyone agrees that a good education is good for the nation. It gets thornier when it comes to defining a ‘good education.’ For 90 years, Fenwick High School has been addressing this issue the best way it knows how: by graduating hundreds of students each year equipped with both the academic and moral gifts needed to become the kind of citizens our complex times’ need.

From Aristotle to Aquinas to Jefferson, the ideal citizen is one who knows not only what to think but also how to think: clearly, logically, passionately. I experienced this at Fenwick, first as a student and then as a teacher. The day General MacArthur was accepting the surrender of Japan in September 1945, I was entering the old Scoville Avenue entrance as a freshman. Seven years later, I returned to teach U.S. History. That is experiencing Fenwick from both ends of the classroom!



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