At HFCA You're Always Welcome Home

  • International students Aoba and Tamaki Tominaga (top) and the Wegerer family returning to visit HFCA.

    International students Aoba and Tamaki Tominaga (top) and the Wegerer family returning to visit HFCA. Courtesy of HFCA staff

Updated 9/19/2022 8:57 AM

There are few things more rewarding for teachers than hearing from former students. The thrill is particularly meaningful for teachers at Holy Family Catholic Academy when students from foreign countries return to visit. Recently, sisters Tamaki and Aoba Tominaga stopped by the Inverness school they attended from 2006-2009. Now university students in Japan, the sisters' return after 13 years is a great reminder of the many things HFCA will be celebrating as it marks its 20th Anniversary.

Opening in 2002 with 29 students in kindergarten and first grade, HFCA used the grow-a-school model and added a new grade each subsequent year. Currently, the enrollment at HFCA is approaching 500 preschool through eighth grade students - approximately double the 2006 enrollment when the Tominaga family joined HFCA.


As Tamaki and Aoba toured their former school, they were not only impressed by the physical additions to the Holy Family campus including a 40,000 square foot addition and a nationally certified outdoor classroom, but they also enjoyed hearing about the changes to HFCA's curriculum and instruction.

The most significant change over the years is HFCA's authorization as an International Baccalaureate World School (IB), making it one of only 18 elementary schools in Illinois to carry that distinction.

Explains Principal Kate O'Brien, "HFCA's IB status has attracted expatriate families living and working in the northwest suburbs from European, South American, and Asian countries where IB is more widely recognized."

While Tamaki and Aoba were the most recent visitors, HFCA also welcomed former students visiting from Germany this summer. The Wegerer family with sons David and Lenny relocated from Germany in 2018.

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States Mrs. Nicole Wegerer, "Finding the right school was our number one priority, and when we toured HFCA we immediately realized it was a unique school interested in welcoming international students. We actually found HFCA first and then looked for a house nearby."

Attracting international students adds to HFCA's global perspective of education.

Explains Principal O'Brien, "Welcoming students from different cultural backgrounds has helped us create a sense of community on the common values that unite us. Our motto is to develop global thinkers, leaders grounded in faith, and learning from other perspectives benefits all of our students, teachers, and families."

Despite the age and cultural differences between the Tominaga and Wegerer families, both shared the same sentiment reflecting on their time at HFCA.

Tamaki Tominaga explained, "I strongly remember the days I spent at HFCA even though 13 years have passed. Thanks to HFCA, my sister and I have many fond memories of our life in the US."

Likewise, Nicole Wegerer adds, "Our boys grew so much socially, academically, and spiritually in their three years at HFCA. While our time in the US has ended, our experiences at HFCA will last forever."

HFCA's year-long 20th Anniversary celebration will be a time to be reacquainted with many more former students near and far. It is a true blessing for Academy teachers to see how their life's work has made an impact on their former students - a vivid reminder of the primary reason teachers teach.


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