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Catching up with young alumni Bella Stathas '21 and Jack Kornowske '22 -- in New Orleans and Scotland, respectively!

Fenwick Graduation Year: 2021
Hometown: Chicago 
Grade School: St. Giles (Oak Park, IL)
College: Loyola University New Orleans 
Major: Biological Sciences with a concentration in Cell and Molecular Biology 
Minor: Spanish 

Career aspirations: I am in school to become a genetic specialist. Through this profession, I can help others, alleviate scientific uncertainty and continue research after my undergraduate studies. Being a genetic specialist allows you to have specific patients, but the work of one patient's genetic code opens up so much more opportunity to aid their family and progeny as well. I am very passionate about the science behind genetics and the wide array of genetic variation in each person. 

Fenwick achievements/activities: At Fenwick, I played volleyball my freshman year and continued on the softball team freshman to senior year. We had a successful four years! The JV team won regionals my sophomore year with Mr. Gallo and while on varsity my senior year, we won sectionals. Off the field and in the classroom, I was a member of the Medical Club, HOLA! Club, National Honor Society and Friar Mentors.  

Fenwick teacher who had the most influence on you: Mr. Wnek definitely had the biggest influence on me throughout high school. I took his freshman Biology course and discovered my love for the subject. This was also the hardest freshman class I was taking and the stem of how I learned to correctly study. That didn't prevent me from taking him again senior year for AP Biology. He had seen me grow from a scared and confused freshman to a bright-eyed senior. His classes and admiration for the subject truly secured my love and curiosity for Biology, and I knew that I had a great teacher to thank for that. My college courses feel so much easier when I apply the skills and knowledge that I have obtained from Mr. Wnek’s classes. 
Fenwick class that had the most influence on you: Mr. Hackman-Brooks sophomore year English class had the most influence on me. As a sophomore at Fenwick, I was still getting used to the atmosphere of the school, and his class really allowed Fenwick to feel like home. I still talk and have great relationships with fellow students in that class. He was so passionate about what he taught in literature and inspired me to take up reading as a relaxing hobby. 

Best Fenwick experience/the one you would like to live again: I especially miss driving to school every day with my friend, Mary Barshop, and my younger sister. It was always a chaotic trip. Mary never memorized the route to Fenwick from my home, which had caused us to get lost a couple of times. Mary and I would also be waiting on my sister to leave the house because she always took forever to get ready. Blasting music and hysterically laughing, we would eventually get to class, although we were definitely well acquainted with Mrs. Tartaglia by the end of the year. 


Fenwick Graduation Year: 2022
Hometown: Oak Park, IL
Grade School: Gwendolyn Brooks Middle School 
College: University of St. Andrews (Scotland)
Major: English and German 

Career aspirations: I want to be a teacher and, hopefully, a writer. I’ve worked as a swim lessons instructor both through Fenwick and the Park District of Oak Park, and I find that teaching is not only enjoyable but personally rewarding as well. As of now, I have aspirations to teach at the high-school level, English or German. Becoming a writer was always a far-off aspiration of mine, but after taking creative writing my senior year I now find it to be one of much more substance. 

Fenwick achievements/activities: Every year that I attended Fenwick, I was on the swim and water polo team. Senior year I was co-captain of the water polo team. That same year I was also co editor-in-chief of Touchstone literary magazine, and won the faculty award for German, Creative and Expository Writing, and Touchstone Management, as well as earning an honorable mention in the Illinois Association for Teachers of English poetry contest. My junior year I received the national German award gold. 

Fenwick teacher who had the most influence on you: Mrs. Kotty was the Fenwick teacher who influenced me the most. Her obvious passion for her subject matter was infectious, and her handling of hybrid learning, though challenging, was masterful. I genuinely enjoyed coming into class each day, whether it was on person or through Zoom. She completely reshaped how I thought a classroom could be run, a lesson could be taught, or what an English class could be. With Mrs. Kotty there were no wrong answers, just good or bad arguments, which was beyond valuable in preparing me for university. 

Fenwick class that had the most influence on you: Creative Writing I and II, taught by Mrs. Gallinari, has been the class that I return to most often. That class greatly improved my writing ability, both in the creative and expository field. In addition, through the management of Touchstone (Fenwick’s literary magazine) I learned a great deal about what it means to be a leader and the responsibilities that come with managing a team. 

Best Fenwick experience/the one you would like to live again: If I could relive any Fenwick memory, it would be the Sectional water polo game vs. OPRF on prom night. My junior year, OPRF ended our season early, beating us for the first time in years. The game was incredible, and it made getting to prom late totally worth it. Though we had a game against York the next morning, for one night it felt like we were on top of the world. 

The Fenwick experience that changed you the most: My Kairos experience, both as a leader and retreatant, was incredibly life changing. Little has come close to how I felt just following Kairos, the love, security and joy. Kairos taught me to truly see and connect with other people, a lesson that has undoubtedly helped me in university.
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