Making it in this world, navigating it every day, isn’t always easy. Sometimes you get help. Sometimes, when it counts, you get support. That’s a blessing. But it’s not something you count on. It’s not something you raise your children on, crossing their fingers.
It’s been my philosophy six times over now.
What I tell them, what matters in this world, is simple: You’ve got to show up.
You show up every day. You give 100%. You keep your mind on your business, do your thing, and you make it count. And when you do that, and when you have an environment that rewards honest work and character and commitment, that’s where you thrive. That’s how you navigate this world.
My son Daniel, my eldest, has been doing just that at Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia. He’s won the coach’s award on the football team. He’s made high honors from Day 1. A Distinguished Maguire Scholar, Colgan Scholar, SpeakUp club member — you name it. You don’t get there by luck. You’ve got to believe in your potential, and work towards it day after day — commitment.
And when you have a school that’s committed to you, too, that’s how you reach that potential. At Roman, from the start, that has been crystal clear. The coaches are here for Daniel. The teachers are here for Daniel. And the admissions team has worked with me to make it possible for a single mom of six kids from across state lines to find financial solutions — to make Catholic school attainable for us. And we’re not even Catholic!
I’m sure other parents, other students, or whoever, have their opinions when they find out we all live in New Jersey — when they learn it takes hundreds of dollars a month, an hour commute each way by car, plus train, to get him there and back. And then multiply that for Elizabeth and Joseph, some of my younger kids, who are doing that same thing every day.
Commitment is what it takes to make it happen. Just like my kids, just like their teachers, I’m putting in the time, putting in the sweat and the work, to keep us all going. It was never easy to choose this kind of setup for their education, to make these kinds of sacrifices. But I’m making sure these children have it better than me, reach higher than me, while being true to themselves.
Next year, Daniel is going to University of Oklahoma. He had his choice of Widener, LSU, Penn State, and Texas Tech. Joseph, who was a freshman this year, has the grades and the talent to follow in his brother’s footsteps — maybe not on the football field — but in his own areas of excellence. And my younger daughters are growing and learning about who they are, and what they can achieve.
I know they’re all going to make it. Because between our family and our school, we are committed to getting there together.
Hafeezah Fitts lives in Sicklerville, NJ with her six children. Her sons Daniel and Joseph attend Roman Catholic High School in Philadelphia; her daughter Elizabeth attends John W. Hallahan Catholic Girls’ High School, also in Philadelphia.