Franklin’s Bishop Fenwick High School reaps the rewards of unifying events
By Kevin Michell
The 2018-2019 school year at Bishop Fenwick High School saw the student body and administration accomplish some great things, including impressive fundraising and new ways to support one another.
It started in October when Chester and Stephanie Yeager provided a $100,000 gift to the school along with a challenge: match that number during Oct. 11’s Day of Giving. Fenwick families came together to do more than that, raising an additional $200,366 on their own.
That over $300,000 in funds allowed the high school to add a new, more spacious building for their counselors dubbed “The Nest.” Bishop Fenwick added a third counselor this past school year, allowing greater availability to students. The addition gives students a space not only to meet with counselors more regularly but also to practice testing or conduct club meetings.
“All the counselors have enough room so they can have multiple students in their office at a time,” says Natalie Hansman, Bishop Fenwick’s director of marketing and communications, “where before they could literally fit two people in their office and that’s it.”
A ceremony was conducted on May 10 to dedicate the new space and honor the Yeager family for its contribution.
Around the same time as the Day of Giving, Germantown’s Dupps Co. announced its own generous contribution to the school. The family company, which has strong ties to Bishop Fenwick, provided a substantial gift to help build five new tennis courts. Construction started in spring and the tennis courts are expected to open on Aug. 2 to coincide with the fifth annual 1-Fenwick Weekend.
This past school year also saw the start of a new initiative to create connections between Fenwick students across age groups. Wednesdays and Thursdays, groups of upperclassmen and their sophomore and freshmen counterparts meet around midday for “Flock Blocks” that encourage peer mentoring and joint activity.
“Some days it might be team-building activities, some days it might be service activities, some days it might be going to mass (together),” says Hansman. She points out that the program has already helped with both enrollment and retention of students by making them feel more comfortable in getting involved with others regardless of the class to which they belong.
As the summer stretches on, Fenwick’s summer camps are in full swing. There’s a sense of particular excitement this year with football coach Dan Haverkamp—formerly head coach at St. Xavier High School—and new basketball coach Kelven Moss leading their respective camps in preparation for the next school year’s seasons.
The aforementioned 1-Fenwick Weekend will be the culminating summer event before the new school year officially starts. The annual event happens Aug. 2-4 this year and brings together Fenwick alumni and community supporters.
The three different campuses the school has had over the last six decades have occasionally hurt alumni involvement, so the event serves to bring alumni from the early days and recent past together as one group to support Fenwick’s continued development.
“We’re all one Fenwick, we’re all part of the Fenwick family, we all have the same values,” says Hansman, mentioning that over 3,000 people attend the weekend. “It’s a big weekend for us.”