Fr. Arnold Perham, CSV, celebrates 65 years of priesthood this year and 73 years as a Viatorian — making him the longest serving member of the community in the Chicago Province.
Nonetheless, he remains busy — and relevant.
Though long retired – after having taught math for nearly 50 years at Saint Viator High School and living at the Viatorian Province Center — he continues to work with students, this year, virtually.
During second semester, Fr. Perham worked with senior Querbes Scholars on an independent study project that met one of the requirements for the faith-based academic program. Fr. Perham called it simply, the Color Project.
Students worked on the project using their iPads, communicating with Fr. Perham through Google Classroom. In it, they developed a strategy to “quantify” different colors, using the RGB (red, green, blue) additive color model and values provided by the Markup feature on their iPads.
The project had real world value.
“In the world of business, color branding is a big deal for creating an impression,” Fr. Perham says. “To reproduce the same color combinations, color needs to be quantified.”
Turns out, Fr. Perham has had a lifelong interest in color, dating back to his father, who worked for 50 years in the printing business.
“He worked for a company that made the copper plates in order to engrave color pictures,” Fr. Perham says. “Each picture needed three plates, one for each color used in combination to produce the desired effect.”
Over the years, Fr. Perham has developed projects that reflect his many interests and lifelong learning. One challenged students to calculate the rate at which men laid tracks for the Transcontinental Railroad line, back in 1865. Another had them determine the quantitative shape descriptors of the different leaves found on the grounds of the Viatorian Province Center.
“Since the inception of the Querbes Scholars program, each year I have presented a unit on math,” Fr. Perham says. “Since no grades are given, I marvel at their willingness to enter into something different for the sake of a challenging academic experience. What a great academic program.”