Nestled in a rural setting in Warren County sits a Catholic school environment unlike anywhere in the Tristate.

“We’re from all over the place,” says Andy Barczak, a first year principal at Bishop Fenwick High School in Franklin. Situated between two metro areas, Bishop Fenwick represents and educates students from 34 grade schools throughout the Greater Cincinnati and Dayton area.

“There are so many backgrounds that are coming from all over and [students] are growing from it by being exposed to more than just their own,” says Barczak, who spent the last 12 years as a principal at Covington Latin before coming to Bishop Fenwick for the 2013-2014 school year.

Since starting in August, Barczak has already taken notice of the support and pride they have for their small school.

“There is a passion here and there are people here so devoted and supportive of the school,” he says. “It’s a tremendous place and it’s great to be here.”

Named after Bishop Edward D. Fenwick—the first bishop of Cincinnati—the school was founded by the Cincinnati Archdiocese in 1952 after the local Roman Catholic community pushed to create a school. The communal spirit continues to shine 60 years after the school’s inception, which has grown from 60 students to 574.

“This area is committed to their children’s education,” says Barczak. “This continues to be a great school because the parents are making the sacrifices for them to be here. They do what’s necessary.”

Barczak says he’s reviewing the academic programs Fenwick has in an effort to enhance student services while upgrading their technology. He also hopes to maintain a top quality staff that is lay-driven and drives students to succeed.

The principal understands the trepidation families have about paying tuition fees, but he assures parents that financial aid and work-study packages are available.

“We work hard to help families finance and there is no reason why they can’t send their children here,” says Barczak. “We want to work with them.”

You don’t have to take the principal’s word for the school’s success. The proof is with the students.

Ninety-nine percent of Fenwick’s 2012 graduates entered post-secondary education, while 73 percent of the 124 students received some form of academic, service or athletic scholarship.

With an average class size of 24 and a student to teacher ratio of 14:1, it’s an environment conducive for academic excellence.

“When you walk in the door, you know you’re somewhere special,” says Barczak. “It’s great to be here.”