Featured Alumnus - February 2023

Farrell Winchester '16
I found community at CCHS the moment I came onto campus as a freshman in 2012. People like Dylan Slager and Brenden Wolinski made me feel like I was supposed to be here. There was never a time when I had felt otherwise. Spreading my time amongst groups like Student Council, Mosaic, and the basketball team allowed me to share my love for the school with others. This community is never stronger than when it is time to play Illiana in basketball. That was the most electric atmosphere that I was blessed to experience. I will never forget closing my high school basketball career, beating them in their home gym for a regional championship! The way we were able to bring joy and unity to this community of people we had fought so hard for, two years prior, will never escape my memory. I am thankful for influential individuals like Coach Pittman, Dr. Kuipers, Mrs. Lenters, Mrs. Kamp, Mrs. Haan, and many others for encouraging me or even giving me a smack to bring me back to reality (not literally teachers don’t hit kids… anymore). It was because of teachers like these that our children still have hope for the future.

Once my time at CCHS was over, I was confident I had the tools I needed to be successful wherever I went next. I attended Aurora University for the next five years where I achieved my Bachelor of Science degree in finance with a minor in computer science at the height of the 2020 world shutdown. One year and an accelerated program later, I achieved my MBA in May 2021. During my first two years of college, I had the privilege of being a part of Aurora’s Men’s basketball team. However, recurring injuries, specifically concussions, would force me to forfeit my chance of any playing time and make the tough decision to end my basketball career. Through the end of my undergrad, I embarked on a career in financial services in hopes to serve families by providing financial literacy and guidance.  An internship allowed me to grow a strong network and rapport with people I wanted to learn from. The more I learned about wealth and the conversations I began to have led me to the real estate industry as an investor. During my MBA program, I did research project after research project to learn more about this business. The more connections I made, the more educated I became, which brought me the opportunity to work for an excellent Real Estate Investment Trust in downtown Chicago called Home Partners of America. I was offered the opportunity to be a part of the new team for a new product in iBuying (like OpenDoor, OfferPad, etc.) called RealSure. This product soon became a start-up company, and I became a lead underwriter on our acquisitions team. I continue to do deals with various partners outside of my corporate role looking to secure a legacy to share with future generations of my family.

CCHS provided me the opportunity to learn from people who did not look like me. It taught me how to work with people who did not look like me. It gave me a home away from home and a community willing to stick its neck out for me when I needed them. This world is not perfect, and neither are the people and places within it. I had my difficulties in high school as any other teenager does, but my difficulties were not stronger than the bonds I made with the people who helped me overcome them. God blessed me with a diverse family—the CCHS family I still cherish and hold onto to this very day.