Roni Facen

Roni Facen

“I remember my mom sitting at the table many nights trying to figure out how she was going to put food on the table for us and how she was going to figure out school and a million other things that parents so often worry about.”

“She went to Tom Zbierski, who is a cofounder of Big Shoulders Fund and said, ‘I’ll work five jobs! Can I keep my three girls in Catholic school?’ And Tom goes, ‘Absolutely.’”

“She wanted to give us the best chance. She understood, and I understand now as an adult and as the leader of a school, that education is the great equalizer.”

“We know that [students of color] are 36% more likely to matriculate into college if they see one person of color in a role of leadership. We know that data and we don’t do anything with it. And I’m the first leader of color at St. Francis de Sales in 136 years. And I take that very seriously and I feel honored every day.”

“So often education is determined by where you live. Geography, right? So if you’re on the South Side of Chicago, those opportunities become smaller and smaller. Where we have no trauma hospital, we’re in a food desert, where trying to find asparagus on the South Side becomes a whole thing in its own right.”

“100% of our kids are on scholarship. 100% of them. There is not one student in this building that is paying full tuition. The per capita income of our families on the South Side is about $20,000 a year.”

“Our kids here in this community deserve it. They deserve the opportunity to choose where they go to school and be provided with the best education possible. And they shouldn’t have to be bused 45 minutes away from their community to receive that education. They deserve it right here.”

“This tax credit bill seems so, so easy to say ‘yes’ to. Because it’s supporting the kids that need us the most.”

“When you see my babies and you see what they’re achieving and you see 100% of them matriculating into college and 100% of them, you know, making these very big strides to break the generational poverty that they were born into.”

“I think tax credit has made it so that we can have 136 years more, is what we’re hoping for.”

Roni Facen
Principal and alumna, St. Francis de Sales High School
Chicago, Illinois

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