FXW began in the heart of Maggie Daley in 1989. She had a vision of a school that would embody the very best of Chicago—a school that would celebrate the rich diversity of the city, a school that would provide students with the academic and moral foundation to become responsible citizens, and a school that would embrace all faiths and welcome families from all racial, ethnic and socioeconomic backgrounds.
Mrs. Daley shared her bold idea with Father Jack Wall, who was Pastor of Old St. Patrick’s Church. Fr. Wall embraced Maggie’s vision and the two started the search for a principal. That search ended with Sister Mary Ellen Caron, who became the first principal of FXW, then-named Old Saint Patrick’s School. The school’s first home was in Presidential Towers and boasted an enrollment of 35: 19 preschool and 16 kindergarten students.
Within one year, the school moved to the Old St. Patrick’s school building and added a first grade. Enrollment quickly grew to 100 students, representing a multitude of Chicago’s neighborhoods, and reflecting the rich texture of religious traditions and racial identities that make Chicago unique. True to Daley’s vision, 30 percent of FXW students received financial assistance so that families who desired an academically rigorous, values-based education could receive one regardless of their financial status.
From twenty-five years ago to today, Maggie’s vision lives on in the over 940 FXW students, including her three grandchildren, who honor the passion and dedication of our founders, by reflecting the City’s rich diversity, embracing their faith, and striving to make a difference in the classroom and in the world around them.