Faculty Focus: September 2017

Speech Teacher Andy Arellano enters his 46th year of teaching students at Fenwick.

What is your educational background?

AA: After graduating from De La Salle Institute on the South Side, I went to MacMurray College, a small Methodist liberal arts college, that awarded me a super academic scholarship that allowed me to earn a bachelor’s degree in Speech. Later, while teaching at Fenwick, I earned a master’s degree in Speech Communication from Northeastern Illinois University on the North Side of Chicago.

What did you do prior to becoming a teacher at Fenwick?

AA: Upon graduating from MacMurray, I came to Fenwick and taught freshman English and helped Fr. Motl, a great guy and my predecessor, coach the speech, debate, and Congress teams. The following year, Fr. Motl went off to teach future priests how to deliver quality sermons. I then took over teaching the sophomore Speech class and coaching our speech activities which had been the goal behind the work that I had done with Fr. Motl during my first year at Fenwick. (One should also note that Fenwick’s requirement that every student must take one semester of Speech in order to graduate came about because Fr. Motl believed that our students needed to learn how to speak in order to gain success in our society. If anything, this requirement fits into the Dominican mission as the Order of Preachers. Fenwick is one of a limited number of schools to have this requirement.)

What are you currently reading for enjoyment?

AA: During the school year, my reading tends to be largely focused on current events and the news so that ties can be made between Speech class and what is going on in the world. This past summer, the last book that I read was Al Franken, Giant of the Senate by Senator Al Franken. In sections, the book contained some humor. Other sections sadly showed how dysfunctional our government can sometimes be.

What interests do you pursue outside of the classroom?

AA: My wife and I like to travel, eat at small mom-and-pop restaurants, visit art and other types of museums, be with our one-year-old grandson when possible (he lives in Colorado), and go to various movies. I also enjoy listening to Ed Farmer who announces Sox games on the radio. (Farmer too is from the South Side, and he pitched for the Sox for a while.)

To what teams and/or clubs did you belong as a student?

AA: While in school, I competed in speech activities, wrote for the school paper, served in student government, volunteered for various service organizations, participated in academic honors organizations, and was a lector at my parish.

Which clubs/sports/activities do you run at Fenwick?

AA: Currently, I coach speech contests that are sponsored by various fraternal organizations, such as the Optimist Club, the Sons of the American Revolution, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars. The prizes usually consist of money. In fact, since 1993, Fenwick speakers have won over $191,000 for themselves as well as trips to various national contests. I also run the Grade School Speech Contest that our school sponsors for grade school students. After school, I am responsible for running “JUG” (detention). I also assist Dr. Lordan in mentoring the faculty members who are new to Fenwick.

What quality/characteristic marks a Fenwick student?

AA: First, Fenwick students are intelligent. They have been blessed by God with a great deal of ability, both mentally and physically. They tend to be driven to do well. Many of our students have lofty college and professional goals. Even more importantly, our students give of themselves through service for others in their parishes and in their communities. Our students are truly impressive. They step up and demonstrate their leadership. Continue reading “Faculty Focus: September 2017”

Faculty Focus: Meet English Teacher Rick O’Connor

English Teacher Rick O’Connor brings his broadcasting expertise to Fenwick’s students.

What is your educational background?

RO: I have a B.A. in Journalism from the University of Rhode Island and a M.A.T. from National-Louis University.

What did you do prior to becoming a teacher at Fenwick?

RO: I was the Executive Producer for “The Steve Cochran Show” on WGN Radio for eight years. Prior to that, I held positions at Fidelity Investments and Putnam Investments in Boston.

What are you currently reading for enjoyment?

RO: When [Basketball] Coach [Staunton] Peck and I are not discussing the Red Sox and White Sox and other world affairs, we recommend books to each other. The current recommendation is Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind by Yuval Noah Harari. I just started it, and so far, so good!

What interests do you pursue outside of the classroom? Continue reading “Faculty Focus: Meet English Teacher Rick O’Connor”

Faculty Focus: Meet English Teacher and Alumna Jennifer Ori

English Teacher and alumnae Jennifer Ori ’06 is the subject of our monthly series focusing on Fenwick’s fabulous, award-winning faculty.

What is your educational background?

JO: I earned my B.S. from Marquette University and my M.A. from DePaul University. I had great experiences at both places, but I am especially tied to Marquette where I had great academic advisors and teachers and formed close friendships.

What did you do prior to becoming a teacher at Fenwick?

JO: I taught freshman, sophomore and junior English at Greenfield High School outside of Milwaukee.

What interests do you pursue outside of the classroom?

JO: I love coaching tennis with Mr. Draski, my former tennis coach. Getting a “behind the scenes” look at what was happening when I was a player is such a unique experience. We are lucky to work with such a great group of girls and families. Outside of Fenwick, I enjoy cooking and baking, trying new restaurants, and visiting new places. I also enjoy volunteering at Misericordia.

To what teams and/or clubs did you belong as a student?
Continue reading “Faculty Focus: Meet English Teacher and Alumna Jennifer Ori”