May 19th, 2016.  Brenda’s Facebook post is a very touching retelling of her presentation of two KJO scholarships at Fenwick.

<3 A Day of Amazement and at a Loss for Words <3 

I was heading off to honor 2 students from Fenwick’s Graduating Class of 2016 while John headed off to Nazareth to honor students.

As I am driving to Fenwick, I go over my speech while sitting at the stop lights. Knowing that these two students have made a different in their short life and how they are going to continue to make a difference in their next chapter of their life.

Knowing how Brianna McCormick (KJO College Recipient) made a difference by starting the Best Buddies Club at Fenwick. Something that I became aware of at Countryside St. Patricks Day Parade this year when an LT Student wrote a letter on why her Buddie should be the queen for the parade. Brianna has a profound respect for life & for others. She has realized that one small act can change the world to be able to achieve their dreams.

Sean Goodman (KJO College Recipient) too understands, the senselessness of a life taken too young and the importance of living a strong, good life to maximize the time you have here on earth. His cousin “Lucy was grappled with a rare, aggressive form of cancer that eventually claimed her life. He would visit her at Comer Children’s Hospital in Chicago and was struck by the empty refrigerators there and started a food drive at his home parish “St.Giles” to help stock it. Lucy was always curious about what his family brought and could always see the “JOY” in her eyes when described the day’s work to her.

I was extremely proud in so many ways as I arrive at Fenwick to present the KJO Scholarships to these two students and to let others know some of their accomplishments during their 4 years at Fenwick. I am sure their fellow classmates were aware, but it was important to let others know who were attending the Honors Convocation on the compassion they had for others, their maturity, generosity and dedication in spreading “JOY” .

The car is now parked and it is time. I walk into Fenwick and I am escorted to the Auditorium. I sat next to two Gentlemen, who were also going to present. First Gentleman was presenting Evans Scholars, Second Gentleman was from Blackfriars Priory School from Australia as he had been in the U.S. with four of his students staying with families at Fenwick who in return would go back to Australia for three weeks . They proceeded to ask, “ What I was presenting”? I was proud to say, “ I am presenting two Scholarships in memory of my daughter Kelli Joy O’Laughlin. Her life was taken as a Freshman when she came home from school”. I know they were at a loss for words, but I made sure to put them at ease. I asked the gentlemen from Australia if he would assist in taking pictures after the presentation, since I was by myself? He said. “ absolutely”. It is now time and the Convocations begins as the Seniors start to walk in. I always seem to get butterflies before the start, but once I start I am fine as long as I can hide behind that podium. Evans Scholarships just been presented which means I am next. The introduction was on how Kelli’s life was taken and then I was introduced. As I walk up the stairs today it seemed different. I was by myself and presenting to two students. I place my speech and their plaques on the podium. I look out into the audience to see a full auditorium on the first & second floor as well as on the stage.

Then it all began. While looking towards the back of the auditorium the students started to stand and started clapping and I am watching as they continue to stand and clap until the entire auditorium was up and clapping as well as the stage. I was speechless as I had not said a word at this point. I looked over at the Staff as what do I do now. I was overwhelmed, I was cherishing the moment, I was shock in disbelief as what have I done to deserve this ………. Then I realized that this was a moment because of who Kelli was and what she represented to so many!!!!

All I can say to everyone who attended Fenwick’s 2016 Honors Convocation.


This will be a moment that I will cherish forever! This moment meant more to me than one will ever know!

<3  THANK YOU <3 

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