Principal’s Welcome

Strength for the Journey:  The 2023-24 School Year at St. Ferdinand School!

“Strength for the Journey…JOY in our Hearts!” 

was St. Ferdinand School’s spin on the theme for all Catholic schools across Chicagoland this school year.

It’s a theme so reflective of the happy,  joyous atmosphere present daily in the St. Ferdinand School hallways.


We continued to grow and achieve academically and personally through student-centered individualized learning plans in Reading and Math through continued implementation of The Daily Five reading strategy, emphasis on building solid Mathematical Factor Bases at all levels, utilization of iReady Diagnostics data for goal-setting and grouping, the start-up of an new Honors-Level Enrichment pull-out program, and introduction of personalized Skyrocket Academic Coaching for the Teachers – as well as continue to build healthy stress relief mechanisms for both teachers and students through incorporation of the Calm Classroom program into the school day. 


We also grew in enrollment as we have seen a 30% increase in student population over the past 3 years!


In Athletics, we opened our beautifully refurbished gym with new ceiling, lighting, and floor to host sports games for the first time in years 

We also joined a new league:  the City-Suburban Catholic League, which allowed us to not only continue to offer our 4th-8th graders Basketball and Volleyball, but to grow our program to include Cross-Country and Soccer teams, as well as a Cheerleading Squad!


After competing in our first school-based Science Fair, our 7th and 8th Graders ventured again to the Illinois Junior Science League Regional Competition at Northeastern University – and took home an astonishing 10 GOLD MEDALS and 2 SILVER ONES with 5 STUDENTS ADVANCING TO THE STATE LEVEL, where ALL 5 EARNED GOLD MEDALS!


Of course – students earnestly tried their best to be nominated for Students of the Month or placement on the Kindness Tree by exemplifying the Fruits of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) as they treated each other with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control – – – and yet looked outside of our doors to reach out to those in need through the Cuddle Buddy collections for the Catholic Migrant Ministry in Oak Park, Rice Bowl funds for MIssionaries of the Poor in Uganda, and our Canned Food Drive to fill the shelves of our own parish food pantry for the needy in the Belmont-Cragin community.


Taking our emphasis on service ministry to others to an advanced level, the Entrepreneurship Club researched and designed a prototype of an app migrants could use to access nearby housing, groceries, doctors, etc.,  for the city-wide Big Shoulders invention and marketing competition for junior high students, and advanced to the next level of competition!


We again capped off the school year with our wildly fun fundraiser, the annual FERD COLOR RUN, ventured on a whole-school field trip to a Chicago Dogs Baseball Game, and celebrated the beautifully diverse cultures that make up our St. Ferdinand School Family with our amazing 2nd Annual CULTURE FEST of ethnic foods, dance, games, and art in May!


I treasure all of these wonderful additions, experiences, goals, efforts, and successes – – – but, I would be remiss if I neglected to mention the event that seemed to most uniquely embody this school year – – – the unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime event that is encapsulated in the theme of this yearbook:


What a day April 8, 2024 was!  Not only did we don our protective goggles and get to spend the afternoon outside viewing the eclipse safely on a beautifully warm and sunny spring day, but we also hosted local TV station CBS Channel 2.1 to be a part of our indoor morning eclipse lessons, as well as our outdoor watch experience –  both of which were broadcast both live and in recorded segments that truly reflected the fun and amazement of the day at our school!

Indeed, it was a JOYOUS, HAPPY DAY – so reflective of St. Ferdinand School life.  


I am so proud and blessed to be a part of the everyday moments of joy that fill parts of each day in our school. 

I can hardly wait to see what the next school year and our official kick-off to our 

90th Year of Faith and Excellence in Education for the Belmont-Cragin neighborhood 

brings for St. Ferdinand School.


Proud to Be Your Principal and With Love,


Mrs. Erin Boyle Folino 🙂

St. Ferdinand School: Faith and Excellence in Education
Chicago, IL