Scholarships ‘more about family’ for Fenwick’s Dobrozsi

MIDDLETOWN — After posing with his family’s two scholarship recipients, Pete Dobrozsi sat at an empty table in the Fenwick High School cafeteria.

He was one of the speakers Wednesday morning during the school’s annual scholarship breakfast that pairs donors with recipients. More than 40 years ago, his parents, John and Dorothy Dobrozsi, whose five children graduated from Fenwick, established a scholarship to financially assist students with tuition to attend the Catholic school.

Dobrozsi was asked what his parents were thinking since the value of the scholarship has grown and the number of recipients has increased from one student to two students with a third scholarship expected to be added next year.

The 78-year-old grew quiet as he tried to compose his emotions. Tears filled his eyes, then slowly rolled down his cheeks.

“It’s more about family than our last name,” he said of the scholarships. “They would be happy that we’re still giving students the opportunity.”

The Dobrozsi Family Scholarship Fund is one of the named scholarships awarded at Fenwick and are valued at $1,500 annually, said Vanessa Mosley, director of advancement. For the 2023-24 school year, more than 150 students received over $250,000 in named scholarships and $1.5 million in tuition assistance was allocated to the 451 students, school officials said.

This year’s Dobrozsi recipients are Emma Crawford, a junior from Middletown, and Jerod Ryan, a freshman from Franklin. They said the scholarship has allowed them to attend Fenwick.

Mosley said Fenwick is “so honored to be associated with the Dobrozsi family.”

The Middletown family has a lengthy history with the Catholic community.

Bob Dobrozsi, the oldest child, graduated in 1956, followed by Ruth Ann Schumann (1958), Pete Dobrozsi (1963), Janice Wise (1964) and Ed Dobrozsi (1967).

The football field at John XXIII, the former Fenwick High School on Manchester Road, is named after Ed, a longtime volunteer at the Fenwick and John XXIII festivals.

In 1951, Father Julian Krusling was sent by the Cincinnati Archdiocese to open a Catholic school in Middletown, Dobrozsi said. Krusling located an empty building, a former public school site on South Main Street, and gathered volunteers from the three parishes to clean up the building.

Another group was recruited to raise funds to operate the school, Dobrozsi said. His parents were part of that fund-raising committee, and they remained active in the school the rest of their lives, he said.

Old South School opened in 1952 with the first graduating class in 1953. At the time, the school was staffed by four priests, seven nuns and three lay faculty members, Dobrozsi said.

Then in 1962, Dobrozsi said as the students prepared to leave for Thanksgiving break, they emptied their lockers and loaded boxes into their cars to transport to the new high school on Manchester Road.

“Teamwork was critical,” he said. “Everybody chipped in.”

Fenwick began a capital improvement campaign in the 1980s that was supported by the Dobrozsi family. That’s when John and Dorothy Dobrozsi decided to establish a scholarship to create “a lasting effect,” he said.

Mosley thanked all the donors for attending the scholarship breakfast so they could see the Fenwick “mission in action.”

The Journal-News periodically runs a “Good News” story in the Saturday edition. If you have a story idea, email contributing writer Rick McCrabb at

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