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Interest Stories

A Passion for Art and Helping Others: Wendrel P., Retired Teacher

05/25/20222 minutes

Hoosier Lottery Beneficiary, Teachers’ Retirement Fund


Wendrel’s teaching career started in an unlikely way. After graduating from John Herron School of Art in Indianapolis, he started looking for jobs in advertising. During his search, he took a job substitute teaching in the Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) system, and found his passion for teaching and making a difference.

In his fifth year of substituting, Wendrel was asked to take a full-time position at his alma mater, Arsenal Technical High School. He received a Vocational Teacher’s Permit and taught commercial art and computer graphics for 35 years. In the summers, he enjoyed teaching at the IPS Day Adult program, which helped adults graduate from high school.

Some of Wendrel’s favorite memories come from his years of coaching boys’ basketball. “Coaching was very rewarding and gave me a great opportunity to work with students in a different capacity,” he said.

In retirement, Wendrel has worked as a substitute teacher and art teacher in the same district. He even graduated from Indiana University in 2020 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Integrated Studio Practices at age 75.

He is thankful for the impact his pension has on his ability to take care of his family, and finds comfort knowing if something happens to him, his wife will be taken care of. “Having a retirement fund is one of the best financial things that has ever happened to me,” he said.

While Wendrel’s heart for helping led him to various faith-based opportunities including volunteering at Kairos Prison Ministry and the Great Banquet, he believes his greatest impact on society has been the positive influence on his students. “I can empathize with my students because I understand, I came from the same environment,” he said.

According to Wendrel, those considering going into education should “Choose a school system you’re familiar with and know the environment the students are living in. The city environment was a perfect fit for me,” he said.

As for what’s next? When Wendrel, a fine artist himself, fully retires, he plans on spending more time drawing and painting. He also plans on completing his 28th Indianapolis Mini Marathon. “I have only missed running, or walking the Mini four times since 1989,” he added proudly.

The Hoosier Lottery thanks Wendrel and all the other teachers who make a huge difference in the lives of so many, each and every day.

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