Mrs. Hughes’ 25-Year Legacy Comes to a Close


Alais Alzaga, Media Arts Editor

After teaching for 25 years Mrs. Megan Hughes is retiring.

Mrs. Hughes began her teaching career at Sahuaro in 1995 after she had recently gotten married that May to her husband and fellow TUSD teacher, Lance. She said, “It was perfect timing…I began my career at Sahuaro as Mrs. Hughes and didn’t have to change my name.” Since she graduated from Sahuaro a few years earlier, some of her teachers and her tennis coach still worked at the school. She started in room 212, where Ms. Krause is now and explained how the teachers made her feel very welcome. Even back then, some kids made for a serious challenge. She says, “One time, one of the girls in the class tried to lead a revolt when I made a new seating chart for the 10th time!” Mrs. Hughes has been teaching mostly freshmen, including GATE, for most of her career. “Many teachers don’t want to teach freshmen, but I feel like it’s where I can make the most difference,” she explains.

Girls Golf Wins State 2018

She reminisced over the good memories like Halloween costumes, annual picnics, the band, choir, and orchestra concerts. She wrote about a time were Patty Rose, the secretary director, passed away and the Sahuaro choir sang at her funeral. She said it was so moving and made her feel part of a community. Mrs. Hughes has relished coaching for Sahuaro – from girls tennis, to girls golf, to Speech and Debate – she has had some very exciting achievements including coaching 2 state championship golf teams, a state champ in informative speaking, and state runner-up in informative speaking. Athletic Director, Steve Botkin says, “We will surely miss Megan Hughes at Sahuaro. Megan and I graduated together from Sahuaro in 1986. So we have been at Sahuaro together for over half of our lives…😊 Megan is a true Sahuaro Cougar. She was so incredibly involved at Sahuaro, from her English classes, to Girls Golf and Speech and Debate – she always gave it everything she had. Her golf teams were perennial Region Champions and won the State Championship in 2013. She also did such a tremendous job with our Speech and Debate team as well.  I will miss you Megan, thanks for everything that you have done for us, you can never be replaced. “Once a Cougar, always a Cougar”.

2015 Golf State Champs

Mr. Robinson, who co-coached Speech and Debate, echoed Mr. Botkin’s sentiments: “I had the opportunity to work alongside Megan for four years and to help her coach the speech and debate team for three years. During that time I watched her give her full attention and valuable feedback to whoever was speaking in front of her, regardless of the quality of speech. I think that speaks to Megan as a teacher and a coach; she was ready and willing to meet students and competitors wherever they were at, and was most invested in their learning and progress.” He added, “When a student forgot something on a trip, Megan always went out of her way to stop at a gas station and let them pick it up. Or to return to the hotel on our way back to pick it up.”

Calvin Mueller, senior, stated: “One of my favorite memories of Mrs. Hughes will of course be my time in speech and debate. She pushed us all to be the best in our event, and when we performed well, it was rewarding. She has had a big impact on my life because of speech debate, after my time on the team I became a better speaker, writer, and just a better student.” Winta Tekle, senior, also shares great memories of Mrs. Hughes’ impact on her high school years: “As my speech coach for the last four years, Hughes always pushed me for my best. She never shot down our ideas for a speech, but instead listened and contributed what she could. It was a safe space to voice our opinions and to grow as public speakers, and Mrs. Hughes laid the foundation in order for all that to happen. It’s more than what I could’ve asked out of a coach, and I’m forever grateful for the time and effort Mrs. Hughes dedicated to us.”

2018-19 S&D Team

She made amazing friends throughout her 25 years and has learned so much. For a funny memory, she remembers that one Halloween, 3 English teachers dressed up as semi-colons and dedicated it to Mr. Harkin as a joke, since he doesn’t like semi-colons and tells his students not to use them. Mr. Harkin has this to say about his long-time co-worker: “I think that the thing that I admire most about Mrs. Hughes is how much she cares about Sahuaro. In the time I’ve known her, she has been a real leader in speech and debate and golf. I know how much work this takes and I know that Sahuaro students have had amazing experiences because of her commitment. She bleeds Sahuaro blue and red. She has definitely left a legacy–as a student here, a teacher, and a coach. We will miss her tremendously!”

Before she wanted to be a teacher, she thought about law school or working in public relations. She says she is really glad she decided against law school, but she thinks she would have done well in public relations. Well, Mrs. Hughes, we are all glad you decided to teach here! Ms. Krause, co-English chairperson, described Mrs. Hughes:”Megan is the kind of teacher who always has her heart in the right place.  She does a great job with everything.”

w/Halley at prom

She enjoyed watching her daughters learn and grow at Sahuaro  – both incredibly successfully as both were valedictorian of their graduating class. Her youngest, Halley, who graduated last May and attends UofA, stated, “I never had my mom as an actual teacher, but she was my coach in an assortment of things! I think what I came to appreciate about my mom was that she was able to do so many things and never let them affect each other. Every day she balanced being a brilliant teacher, a supportive coach, and a wonderful mother. It was really fun having such a close support system during high school.”

Her oldest daughter, Taylor, who is about to graduate Claremont McKenna College said, “I have so many great memories from experiencing high school with my mom. She was my golf coach, my speech and debate coach, and unofficially she was my tennis coach and designated cheerleader. My mom gives 100% in everything she does, and that was more evident to me than ever while so closely observing her give back to the Sahuaro community for four years. Being in my mom’s class also gave me a chance to observe her doing her actual job (as it was basically bring your child to work day for an entire year) and I not only realized why I knew the plot of Romeo and Juliet so well from the age of 10, but also how passionate my mom is about building the comprehension skills of the students in her classroom. Truthfully, when I was in her class, many of my classmates didn’t even realize that we were related until months into the school year. My mom is a *professional*, and I was happily (and covertly) watching her encourage all of us to learn and develop. Going to high school with both my mom and my sister is an experience I will value forever. I think that being a student at the high school where your mom works could be really challenging, but not if your mom is Megan Hughes.”

Ms. Lange, a long-time friend and fellow English teacher, says this about Mrs. Hughes: “Megan has the most school spirit of any teacher – ever!  She has dressed up for every single spirit day since I first met her 17 years ago.  I’ll never forget the dance routine we spent hours practicing after school for the assembly when we re-enacting the opening of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air or when we rehearsed for a flash mob of Thriller and performed it during both lunches – – both super fun and embarrassing!  She’s a wonderful person and I’m going to miss seeing her face every day! (and of course, her costumes…)


“Teaching is very rewarding,” she said. “I love when former students come back and tell me that they really use or value what we learned.”

Mrs. Hughes, we will dearly miss you, and we wish you luck in all of your future endeavors!