Living for the Past and Present: Ms. Logas shares her passion for history with students through personal experience


Photo courtesy of Ms. Logas

“If someone had told me thirty years ago how happy I would be now, I wouldn’t have believed them.” Ms. Logas punctuated her sentence with a laugh, something she does freely and often.

     It is impossible to speak with Ms. Logas about Fenwick without her love for the school and all of her students shining through.  “Fenwick is a very special place,” she says, and every day Ms. Logas becomes more and more convinced of that fact.

     Now in her sixteenth year of teaching at Fenwick, Ms. Logas fills her classes with lively political debates, mock Supreme Court trials, thoughtful discussions and weekly assignments on current events. As any of her students can attest, Ms. Logas has the unique ability to both challenge and get the best out of each and every student.

     She brings a special perspective on history through her life experiences and says that she has witnessed the fact that “history comes around full circle.” When she sees the political strife of today, she says that she is reminded of similar circumstances in the 1970s.

     Of course, she also jokes that politics are not the only things repeated in history; when she sees teens wearing retro fashions, she laughs and thinks: “those clothes were ugly the first time!” Ultimately, through her wit and keen observations on history, Ms. Logas encourages her students to think critically about issues, find support for their claims, and gain a better understanding of the world around them.

     Ms. Logas’ distinctive teaching style is a product of her own education. She credits her exceptional first and fourth grade teachers at Oak Park Grade School with recognizing her aptitude and interest in reading and social studies. In high school, she took an AP English class in which she was challenged to develop and support her claims and opinions, a skill that she imparts on students in her classes today.

     During high school, she had the opportunity to participate in a European concert tour. As she performed in each venue, she realized that “being an American kid abroad at the time mattered a lot. People in Communist areas took a risk by even listening to our concerts.”  She credits that trip with giving her a broader world view which she brings to each and every class discussion.

     When discussing the Cold War with her American Foreign Policy class, for example, the facts come to life via a personal account of the site. The same is true for her AP U.S. history class and her AP Government classes. Certainly, those students who have her throughout their four years are enlightened by more than the textbook. Experience is one of Ms. Logas’ greatest assets to teaching.

     A recent trip to Slovakia influenced her understanding of post-Communist Europe further. Her mission: to teach English nine-year-olds. Along the way, she carved out sections of the trip to visit unforgettable historical landmarks, including Auschwitz. Seeing such horror first-hand has a singular effect: understanding.

     In describing the atrocities of the holocaust and of the Cold War, in particular, Ms. Logas opens students eyes in a way that pictures never could. History is a subject which should evoke passionate responses. For it to be studied without understanding ding would be a waste. Through Ms. Logas’ accounts, students find passion in history. “Everyday, I am aware of the importance of what I’m teaching,” she says. “The education you are getting is a priceless gift, the value of which you will soon realize.” Any student of hers can attest: so much value is added by her teaching.

     She frequently admits: students taking high school government classes are better-informed than much of the adult population. In an age where young people are eager to vote, to learn about, and to get involved in politics, Ms. Logas accepts the responsibility of informing their decisions. It is a unique opportunity to educate the youth—one that has never been more important.

     The experience of being in Ms. Logas’ classroom comes with so many special quirks. Come holiday season, students get to hear her sing carols. On the first few days of school, she invites them to “ask me anything.” Everyone knows of her sons’ successes as a well-traveled, rightly opinionated father and a food science engineer at Wrigley, respectively. Once in a while, she reads her own writing for a favorite television series of hers, and if they are lucky, students catch a live recitation of her lines from a play. Truly, being a member of any class leaves memories to last beyond four years inside the moat.

     One will struggle to find a single student who has had a bad experience with Ms. Logas. Senior Abel Chaidez, a member of her American Foreign Policy class holds her on great esteem. “Ms. Logas comes into class every day eager to teach us about the subject material,” he says. “Out of all the social studies teachers Ive had here at Fenwick, she is by far the most knowledgeable and the most passionate about the material.”

     Even years after having her, alumni return to visit. It is not uncommon to see past students doting red lanyards, going classroom to classroom to see their old teachers. Ms. Logas’s room is never passed up.

     When asked about the best advice she would give to students, she offers the following reassurance: “You are young and things will change.” Ms. Logas is open with her students about her life experiences and struggles because she truly sees the importance in “talking, so that students can see that having a problem is not the end of    the world.”

    Many students are “carrying burdens that should never be placed on young shoulders,” and Ms. Logas says that her one wish is that she could reach even more children and young adults. She hopes most to instill in all Fenwick students the belief that “nothing is permanent. Just take a deep breath; things will change.”

     From her enthusiastic lectures to her thoughtful discussions and heart-felt reassurances, it is clear that Ms. Logas genuinely cares for each and every student.  Ms. Logas is right, Fenwick is a special place. She is the epitome of what makes Fenwick so very special.

     On behalf of the student body, we thank you, Ms. Logas. Thank you for being such a wonderful light in students’ lives every day. What you do does not go unrecognized, and your impact stays with us for a lifetime.