Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Catching up with young alumni Akya Baker and Noah Shaar from the Class of 2019 and '18, respectively.

Akya Baker
Fenwick Graduation: 2019
Hometown: Berwyn, IL
Grade School: Lincoln Middle School
Current School:  Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo, Michigan)
Major: Digital Marketing/Public Relations and Spanish
Internship Experience: This year I’ve had the privilege to serve as Public Relations coordinator for a team of candidates campaigning for local government in my hometown! All but one were elected, and there is great promise for those relationships in city hall this summer.
Career Aspirations:  Short term, I’d like to secure a position with a grand-scale corporation in New York City, Chicago or Washington, D.C., to gain some experience, preferably in public relations in order to prepare for my ventures in government. Landing a job in the White House is on my bucket list! However, I am pretty young and there are age requirements for some of those things, so my plan for now is to dive into the world of marketing and media beginning with my upcoming internships over the next couple semesters. Long term, I envision myself launching my own marketing agency that makes visions tangible and guarantees success retention for brands of all sorts. One project I wish to implement is a non-profit/pro bono campaign for disadvantaged communities and individuals, which hold tremendous potential in business. One day, I would love to dabble in some screenwriting and maybe a book or two, but until then I am satisfied with just writing spontaneous editorials for my blog, [which goes “live” this summer]!
Fenwick Achievements/Activities: Black Student Union, Broadcasting Club - Varsity Basketball Announcer, Concert Band, International Relations Club, Spanish Club, The Wick student newspaper
Fenwick teacher who had the most influence on you: Mr. O’Connor elevated and exposed me to a new way of thinking as a writer, reader and active citizen which in turn unleashed a version of myself that is confident among competition, consistent in the face of adversity, finds pleasure in reading and excessive annotating, absorbs the media in the purest way possible, stays true to myself and doesn’t sweat the small stuff. Mr. O’Connor is 1 of the 10 very important people that I am to come across over the span of my life and for that I am eternally grateful.
Fenwick class that had the most influence on you: The class that had the most influence on me would have to be a tie between Spanish I with Mrs. Carraher and American Foreign Policy with Mr. Groom. Upon entering Fenwick I had absolutely no experience in Spanish-- I felt like a kindergartener learning how to read all over again, but the style and structure in which Mrs. Carraher taught the class instilled impeccable discipline in me, stretched me out of my comfort zone and laid the perfect foundation for me to flourish in a second language. I began her class first quarter with a C, but the more I was cultivated by my professor, the better I became. I ended her class with a 93% (A). For me, American Foreign Policy brought to life societal issues that we face today in reflection of the history behind them. It was all totally relevant and very much so intriguing. Additionally, having the best principal on the planet as a teacher was a total perk. Those classes affect the decisions I am making to this very day and are prominently infiltrated in my studies, so I believe it fair to say that they were the most influential.
Best Fenwick experience/the one you would like to live again: All of it. If I could relive another four years of high school at Fenwick, I absolutely would. I would do things differently. I would soak up as much as I could from all of the brilliant faculty members. They have timeless experiences and expertise that is out of this world.
What Fenwick experience changed you the most: The last 15 minutes of freshman year theology class during the season of Lent — The lights would be turned down, heads laid against the desk, and rosaries grasped in every hand while Mrs. White retold the Sorrowful Mysteries with the most intricate detail, causing me to silently shed tears of repentance, humility and gratefulness to God.
Noah Saad Shaar
Fenwick Graduation: Class of 2018
Hometown: Chicago
Grade School: Peckwas Preparatory Academy (Summit, IL)
Current School:  University of Chicago
Major: Economics
Summer Internship: Illinois Policy Institute
Career Aspirations:  I hope to have a career in investment banking or a similar area of finance.
Fenwick Achievements/Activities: Editor of The Wick (2016-18); Editor-in-Chief of Touchstone (2018); TEAMS (2015-18); Kairos Leader (April 2018); Ms. Gallinari’s Moby-Dick Reading Club (2018).
Fenwick teachers who had the most influence on you: Ms. Gallinari and Mr. Richied, graduates of the University of Chicago, both had immense influences on not just who I am as a student but also who I am as a person. Ms. Gallinari imparted upon me many of my current habitats as a reader and a writer. Mr. Richied taught me the “UChicago” style of rigorous inquiry that I continue to practice at the University of Chicago.
Fenwick class that had the most influence on you: Mr. Arellano’s Speech class still remains the most influential course I have ever taken. Whenever I am speaking in a professional or academic setting, I recall Mr. Arellano’s advice: “Hit the corners,” “Make eye contact,” “Stand up straight and speak clearly,” and “Never thank your audience after your speech. They should be thanking you!”
Best Fenwick experience/the one you would like to live again: I cherished my time at Fenwick for one reason above all: my classmates. I cannot understate how many good people. If I could, I would like to relive one of the days of my senior year, just to be able to see everyone again and say hi.
What Fenwick experience changed you the most: I was among the last students to have the honor of studying under Father Joe Ekpo. Father Joe’s stories regarding his struggle to defend his faith in the face of adversity gave me a greater understanding of the power of belief in God.
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