August 17, 2020
Speech "guru" Mr. Andy Arellano and Spanish Teacher Mrs. Denise Megall combined for 76 years of secondary education teaching our Friars!
Mr. Arellano, who bagan his career at Fenwick in fall of 1972, has taught literally more than 10,000 Friars.
Long-time Fenwick High School teachers Andrew Arellano and Denise “Dee” Megall announced their retirements following the 2019-20 academic year. Mr. Arellano started teaching at Fenwick in September of 1972. For most of his 48-year career, he taught speech, which is a required class for sophomores. Mrs. Megall began teaching Friars in 1992, amassing 28 years of dedicated service.
“Few people have impacted Fenwick students as much as Andy, and no one has impacted them more,” praised Principal Peter Groom. “Of all the courses that Fenwick offers, Mr. Arellano’s speech class is the one cited over and over again as the most beneficial in preparing our students for life. Andy’s passion and attention to detail are a small part of what has made him so incredibly successful. While being a great teacher, Mr. Arellano has also been a guardian angel for so many of our students that are trying to find their way. He has a unique ability to identify students that are hiding their pain and help them get the comfort that they need. He will be dearly missed.”
Conservative estimates place the number of Fenwick students taught by Arellano at more than 10,000 over nearly five decades. “I would like to thank all of my students from over the years for their hard work and dedication to learn the skills to more effectively communicate,” he said, “so that they can bring about the necessary changes to improve our society. Similarly, I would like to thank their parents, my fellow teachers and the Fenwick administrators for all of their help so that our graduates can grow into successful adults who positively impact our American society. I am truly in awe of my students and what they are accomplishing for all of us,” Arellano continued. “They have most definitely captured my sincerest thanks, appreciation and love for who they are and all that they do.”
Mrs. Megall taught at Fenwick from 1992 - 2020.
Dee Megall earned her B.A. and M.A. in Spanish from Edgewood College (Madison, WI) and Loyola University (Chicago) respectively. “Mrs. Megall was a pillar of our Spanish program for decades,” Mr. Groom continued. “As a language teacher, she was a mentor who challenged me to do a better job preparing students for the next level. While doing so, she became a great friend. A large part of why I first started to love Fenwick was because I worked with excellent teachers and people like Dee. Fenwick will miss her deeply.
Adds Mrs. Megall: “My 28 years at Fenwick are filled with countless happy memories. The supportive colleagues, parents and administration made my time there truly a wonderful experience. While I will certainly miss being in front of a class every day, words cannot express how much I will miss my Fenwick students. They are bright, challenging, caring and fun, and I will treasure the years I spent with them.”
On a personal note, Mrs. Megall’s husband, John, is a Fenwick graduate (Class of 1966) as are her three sons and one of her daughters-in-law. Now that she is retired, she says she can’t wait to spend more time with her four grandsons and two granddaughters. "I also love to read, do needlepoint and jigsaw puzzles," she adds.
More about Mr. Arellano
Andy Arellano was born and raised on the Southside of Chicago, where he attended St. Bernard Grade School (now St. Benedict the African Parish), St. Joseph and St. Anne Grade School (now Our Lady of Fatima Parish), and De La Salle Institute. After earning a B.A. in speech from MacMurray College (Jacksonville, IL), he returned to Chicago and started teaching at Fenwick. Besides teaching, Mr. Arellano has coached a variety of speech activities, served as chairperson of the Expressive Arts Department and as a member of various committees, assisted the faculty mentoring program, and served as a proctor for detention. He received a M.A. in speech communication from Northeastern Illinois University (Chicago).
In addition to teaching the sophomore speech course at Fenwick, Arellano also ran many of the school’s special-occasion speaking competitions. Among his awards are the Rev. George Conway, OP Outstanding Teacher Award (1993), the Rev. John Cyril Fisher, OP Service Award (1992) and Fenwick’s Heart of the School Award. He was recognized as an Outstanding Teacher by the University of Chicago and Quincy University and was among the Who's Who Among America’s Teachers (2007). In 2001-02, the Veterans of Foreign Ward (Berwyn Post) declared him Teacher of the Year, and he was listed on the National Honor Roll of Outstanding American Teachers in 2005-06. He also was named the Voice of Democracy Teacher of the Year by the VFW (4th District, State of Illinois) for 2006.
Arellano and his wife have two daughters, both of whom graduated from Fenwick, and a grandson. Besides trying to keep up with the news and the Chicago White Sox, Mr. Arellano enjoys traveling with his wife, trying little mom-and-pop restaurants, and going to a variety of museums, art institutions, and botanical gardens.
Formal plans to recognize their 76 years of combined service have been put on hold for now, but please stay tuned for details later!