Ms. Magrady Steps Up to the Podium

Kaitlyn Sweeney

     Last year’s retirement of Fenwick icon Mr. Andrew Arellano marked the end of his illustrious 48-year-long career as the school’s speech teacher. The torch of Fenwick’s speech traditions has been passed to the well-loved English teacher, Ms. Magrady. Despite all of the changes to school policies due to the coronavirus, Ms. Magrady expresses that she is prepared to take on this position and excited to follow in the footsteps of Mr. Arellano.

     While Ms. Magrady will be transitioning from the English department to the expressive arts department, she is already a certified speech teacher and highly qualified to take on this position. She gained a communications background in college and was a coach for the speech team at Proviso East. She is currently Fenwick’s Speech Team coach and the organizer for the Fenwick grade school speech competition. Apart from this, she dabbles in spoken word poetry and live storytelling.

     It is noted that many high schools in Illinois do not require their students to take speech. Speech class is very unique to Fenwick, and is applauded by students from years past. Speaking about the impact that speech class had on his life, Alumnus Kevin Gibbons ‘89 said, “The skills that I learned in my sophomore year speech class at Fenwick are ones that I remember to this day, and ones that I implement any time I am speaking in front of a group of people.” When asked why speech is so important and deemed a required course, Ms. Magrady explained that good public speaking skills can benefit students no matter what path they decide to take in life.

     Although speech class will be different because of masks, Ms. Magrady gave some insight into her plans and expectations for this school year. First, she expressed her hopes to “do Mr. Arellano proud.” Ms. Magrady further explained that students should continue to take the class seriously and expect the same academic rigor that speech class has had in the past. Describing her specific plans for speech this year, she said, “Due to the learning and teaching challenges presented by the coronavirus, now is the time to take advantage of technology.” Students will be using PowerPoints in their presentations, wearing masks, and conducting at-home presentations over Zoom conferencing.

     All in all, Ms. Magrady is looking forward to bestowing students with this valuable gift of public speaking. “What I [would] love more than anything,” Ms. Magrady said, “is to take over [Mr. Arellano’s] graduation day experience, to look at the stage and be able to say that I taught all of those students.”