Jim Kelly Retires after 33 Years of Service -- Thank you Mr. Kelly!

Congratulations on your Retirement and Thank You to Jim Kelly for 33 Years of Service!Mr. Kelly started coaching boys basketball in 1985 and since then has also coached girls softball and boys baseball. Starting in 1990, he began as a substitute teacher and bus driver becoming the Head of Transportation in 1994. Read Full Article Here

Meet Juan

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Juan Gonzalez knows one thing about his college selection process: He has many good choices for college and all with sizable scholarship money.

When looking for a college, Juan wanted to stay local where he could get a degree in Computer Information Systems. Now he is choosing from many good schools including Loyola, DePaul, Illinois Institute of Technology, University of Illinois Chicago St. Xavier, Eastern Illinois, Purdue NW and Roosevelt. He is leaning towards Illinois Tech because of his chosen major and the excellent job placement for Illinois Tech graduates.

Juan is happy and excited about his future. In college he wants to study and learn more about computers, technology and information systems. He plans on joining clubs, maybe running track and joining greek life.

Juan’s family is happy about all the acceptance letters and the financial support provided by each acceptance. Juan received over $500,000 in college scholarships!

St. Francis de Sales helped prepare Juan for college. “Mr. Fennessy was incredibly helpful, explaining the application process, helping me apply for scholarships and encouraging me along the way” said Juan. At SFDS, Juan learned about various software programs and through the technology club his Junior year, he learned about hardware and how to troubleshoot problems.

Reflecting on his experience and success, Juan offers good advice to sophomores and juniors: “Start Early! Applying to college, doing financial aid applications, looking for scholarships takes time, get a jump on the process early”. Juan also recommends taking the ACT test more than once because you gain confidence from practicing. Finally, he recommends dedicating time each day and each week to researching schools, filling out applications, applying for aid and talking to your teachers and Mr. Fennessy.

We are excited to hear about Juan’s success in college and look forward to him coming back to St. Francis de Sales to encourage others to follow in his footsteps.

Chris Cole: Alumni Spotlight

In honor of International Women’s Day in March, we took the opportunity to have one of our seniors interview St. Francis de Sales alumnae and business leader, Chris Cole.

Chris Cole graduated from St. Francis de Sales in 1971. She went on to graduate from Northern Illinois University with a BA in Accounting. After four years at Deloitte as an accountant, she left and started her long career at McDonalds Corporation.

Anissa Vanna, a senior at St. Francis de Sales, interviewed Chris on what it means to be a woman in the business world and what her advice would be for the students of today. Chris had lots of good advice and stories. Both women talked about their St. Francis de Sales education, their dreams and experiences.

Click the link here and read up on what Chris and Anissa talked about. 

Meet Gabe

Work hard. Life isn’t always easy. Take your opportunities.


These are just some of the lessons that Gabe Barker has learned during his tenure at
St. Francis de Sales. With college acceptances coming in (many of them and with scholarship money), he answered some of our questions about his experiences during high school.

Why did you choose St. Francis de Sales?
I came from C.I.C.S. Longwood and chose St. Francis de Sales because I wanted a school where I could play more than one sport and get a good education. St. Francis de Sales gave me that. I started right away playing football my freshman year and have played both baseball and basketball my last three years. I am currently part of the choir and was also a part of the student council. 

I know basketball is your favorite sport, can you tell us a bit about your experience on the basketball team?
I have played on the team for all four years as a small forward/power forward and played center too at times. I have been a leader on the team because I was able to play from freshman year on. Being on a team is so important. My game has evolved over the course of years. In the beginning, others doubted my ability but I pushed myself to overcome my inner struggles, a lot of problems come from internal battles. My goal is to give my best no matter whether we win or lose. My favorite memory came during my sophomore year and our sectional win. We played a super - sectional game at Northern Illinois University. What a memorable experience! I knew I still had two more varsity years. The school was electrified and everyone rooted for us and alumni even came to cheer us on.

Being on the basketball team for four years has been a great experience. I have learned that you have to work hard and if you want something you’ve never had, you have to do something you’ve never done.

Are you glad you attended a Catholic School?
Yes, Mr. Warner, our Theology teacher, has taught me so much. I have talked with Mr. Warner countless times about problems or questions I have. He’s been a great supporter of me in everything I want to do and he gives great advice. Kairos, our retreat, was another great opportunity for me to express myself and grow stronger in who I am.

Do you have any specific stories that you want to share about your high school journey?
First semester of my freshman year, I was in and out of school due to a concussion from playing Varsity football. Throughout the course of the school year I went out to prove my ability to perform in the classroom and in extracurricular activities. I didn’t allow a rough start to affect how I finished the year. I wasn't up to par with all the material that was covered in the class while I was out for my concussion and my teacher at the time didn't make it easy for me.

Although this happened, I bounced back and squeezed in the top ten for the B honor roll for second semester. I had to go to summer school to make up my algebra class and I did it! I didn’t let that concussion and the time out of class stop me. 

Now because of my hard work and St. Francis de Sales education, I’ve been accepted into a number of schools with scholarship money including: Iowa Wesleyan, Youngstown State University, Central State University, Lewis University, Holy Cross College, Eastern Illinois University, Eastern Michigan, St Xavier University, Bradley University and Alabama A&M.

Meet Natalia

Natalia Hill, a senior at St. Francis de Sales (SFDS), talks about her experiences at SFDS and what advice she has for incoming families.

Why did you choose St. Francis de Sales?

I chose St. Francis de Sales High School because at the time all my friends from St. John de La Salle were attending and I also had friends already attending so I thought it would be fun to be with all my friends. Then, after the entrance exam, I got a scholarship, so it made the decision easy!

What do you plan to do after your graduation?

After college I will be majoring in nursing with the hopes that I will eventually go to medical school to be a pediatric surgeon. Nursing will enable me to make money in the profession while I continue to work toward the future goals.

Where do you think you will go to college next year?

I have applied to ten schools and heard from six so far -- I have been accepted to Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Northern Illinois, Eastern Illinois, St. Ambrose University, Clark Atlanta University and University of Illinois at Chicago. I got a merit scholarship from St Ambrose.


What would you tell an incoming freshman family as to why they might consider St. Francis de Sales?

First, the teachers are great! Mr. Fennessy has been a big help on the college process and my theology teacher, Mr. Warner, is amazing. He gave me the opportunity to get to know who I am and to get closer to God. I am also able to talk with Mr. Warner about anything after our Kairos retreat. Second, you can do a lot at St. Francis de Sales. It is good to be at a small school. My freshman year I played basketball. My sophomore year I played volleyball, my junior year I played volleyball and softball and my senior year I played volleyball and was the manager for the soccer team. I am a part of the National Honor Society. I am doing yearbook this year. I was a part of the Culinary and Chinese clubs. There are lots of opportunities here to get involved. If I could tell a family two reasons why their child should attend SFDS, I would say “your child will get a good education and make lots of friends because everyone at SFDS is welcoming and friendly.

What advice would you give an incoming freshman?

Three pieces of advice I would give an incoming freshman for their first year at SFDS would be: focus on your work, have fun, and make the best of all situations you are put in.