Class of 2026 Shield

From small conversations to dodgeball, Shield has a variety of ways for freshmen to connect with one another. Although Shield has been alive for only four years, it seems to be set into Fenwick’s tradition. When asked about the ultimate goal for shield, Ms.Visteen said, “The ultimate goal is to get the class to meet people quicker,” she later expressed she wanted to end isolation among students. As we know Fenwick includes a list of students from all over the Chicago land area, which means for some students they come in with middle school buddies while others unfortunately do not. On the topic of goals, Ms.Visteen says, “We’re hoping it’s an avenue for kids to meet and socialize before junior year.” With shield being hands on, how was it operated during Covid? Besides online games, Shield was difficult and non-existent. When asked about Covid challenges Ms.Visteen vividly expressed Covid shield was challenging. She says, “We couldn’t intermix groups and there was no way to enforce student participation. Shield is hands-on making it impossible to do during quarantine.” The best thing about hitting the bottom is there only one way to go and that’s up. Shield jumped right back into their mission last year. Ms. Visteen says, “This year we’re back to normal.” Covid wasn’t the only hard part of Shield. When asked about challenges she answered, “Getting everyone to engage and understand the purpose while having a consistency for socialization and making it fun.”

So what goes into the planning? Running around to make sure everything lines up correctly. The planning ,of course, is a lot of combined hard work. Ms.Visteen says, “Planning is not done alone. I have a really great team. Ms. Power is an amazing partner. I generally worry about everything and she calms me down and helps to keep everything organized and straightforward. I couldn’t ask for a better co-director. She continues to say, “It takes a while to plan. We have to make sure the logistics of everything is right. From Finding and reserving rooms to scheduling and getting the right amount of mentors and adults, there’s a lot of logistics that goes into it.” She’s most excited about the Shield for December 5, expressing the holiday trivia will be a lot of fun. Now let’s dive into Mentor life. Mentoring is an option for juniors and seniors. When asked about why he chose to be a mentor, Senior Donnie Stanton says, “When I came in, I knew about four people. Shield helped me connect with others, which is why I joined. I want everyone to feel included, no matter where you come from, how you look, etc.” Junior Reginald Taylor says, “I’m a shield mentor because it’s a great program and shows leadership.” Mentors train during the summer and pretty much dive into the school year in full effect.

Ms.Visteen ends by saying, “I would be remiss to not mention the amazing student leaders. I seriously get teary eyed thinking about how much you all believe in building a strong and better community. Over the summer when I asked for volunteers, I just couldn’t believe how many of you stepped up and stepped up for multiple weeks on your summer break. It shows how special our student body is and how much they believe in the tenets of the Shield program. The adult leaders are amazing as well. They truly give their time and care about both the mentors and the students. Without our amazing teachers contributing their time and energy, I am not sure that any of it would be successful. I am truly blessed to work with the students at Fenwick. I am constantly humbled by your generosity and kindness to each other.”