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Fr. Arnold Perham: A Lion for Life

November 17, 2016

The awards just keep on coming for Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV.

Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV, center, with Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes, left, and Saint Viator Principal Eileen Manno at the Hearts of Gold dinner in 2015.

Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV, center, with
Arlington Heights Mayor Tom Hayes, left, and Saint Viator Principal Eileen Manno at the Hearts of Gold dinner in 2015.

One year after he was named “Mentor of the Year” by officials with the village of Arlington Heights, he now stands to receive another award: Fr. Perham will be the main honoree at the Saint Viator High School’s Night of the Lion gala in March.

This latest award comes during the same year he celebrated his 60th jubilee as a priest — and all but five of those years have been spent teaching mathematics and computer science at Saint Viator High School.Fr. Perham, Nina Byskosh, Patrick Crane

But don’t expect him to dwell too much on his awards. He’s too busy. Although he retired from full time teaching in 2010, he continues to spend every morning at the high school, tutoring students in the math lab, preparing challenging projects for the Querbes Scholars and working individually with math team members.Fr Perham

Two of his math team competitors, placed third in the state last spring in their oral competition after preparing for months with Fr. Perham.

Fr. Perham was always an innovator in the classroom. He was an early proponent of computer technology and one of the premiere math classes was his C++ course, which introduced upperclassmen to one of the early programming languages. More recently, he has turned to mobile apps to advance students’ work.

“I love it,” Fr. Perham says. “It gives me a reason to get up in the morning. Any time you can work with young people, it’s a good thing.”

Fr. Arnold Perham has been a popular teacher since he arrived at Saint Viator High School in 1962

Fr. Arnold Perham has been a popular teacher since he arrived at Saint Viator High School in 1962

Fr. Perham’s work continues to resonate with graduates. Take Jim Fruchterman ‘76, a former rocket scientist who started his own nonprofit company in Silicon Valley, to empower persons with disabilities through technology.

“At Saint Viator, I met priests who combined a love of math and science, with a life of service,” Fruchterman said. “Especially Fr. (Arnold) Perham and Fr. (John) Milton, they were the ones who got me going and set me on this path.”