Monday, May 25, 2015

Colleague and Friend: Alec Hodgins

Point of Personal Privilege.

Alec Hodgins taught French at Rio Americano High School from 1988 to 2014. For virtually all of that time, he and I were either next-door classroom neighbors or across the small courtyard neighbors. In October, 2014, he went out on medical leave. A few weeks ago, he succumbed to depression. Those of us who knew him and loved him were devastated.

The comment I sherec with friends was, "Alec Hodgins was a unique soul whose creativity and diligence made him a pillar of Rio Americano High School. He was passionate about teaching French and playful in doing so. He inspired students. Deeply and permanently. In ways most teachers never will. The school is significantly diminished without his enthusiasm and energy."

Among other things, he was the motivation that energized my 15'x30' mural of Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon outside my classroom.

I assembled a montage to convey the Alec Hodgins I got to know over the course of the 26 years I worked with him. It was included at a celebration of life commemoration we held after school last week.

Since the, a few more images were found. A slightly modified version of the presentation is shown below. It's neither brief nor comprehensive.

Alec Hodgins - Wish You Were Here

High school cultures are nothing if not ephemeral. If you went into a profession hoping to leave a legacy, you would have made a mistake in choosing high school instruction.

Physical manifestations of Alec will remain with our adjacent murals. He also instigated a scheme to develop Rio decals (window stickers) to help promote our Blue Ribbon school in the face of districtwide declining enrollment coincident with The Great Recession. He made a nice set of wooden return trays (for graded student work) and mini shelves so I could display the framed awards bestowed upon me and my students: The Wall of Ego.

More importantly, Alec's energy and empathy live on within those of us who valued his many admirable qualities.


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry for your (and the rest of the Rio community's) loss.

Santokes said...

Can't believe this. Alec was one of the most vibrant people I knew.

Back in 1996 I had both Alec Hodgins and Dean Baird as teachers (hi Mr. Baird) and walked from one room to the other.

Honestly, Baird's class was the only one at Rio that had any bearing on my future - it underpinned my whole career - but Alec was my favorite teacher. Respectfully, Dean.

-Peter Santoki

conniechampagne said...

I met Alec in 1970, when he & I lived in the what I like to call the "divorced peoples' apartment complex" on Keoncrest Circle in Foothill Farms. We were both 10 years old. I used to see him at reunions-- he & a hand full of others were the only reason I went, & they remained my friends after I moved to San Francisco. In the last 2 years, I had been trying to reach him for quite a while. I had heard his wife passed, & that was devastating because I know how devoted he was. I didn't find out that he died for several months afterward, & I was crushed. And I was so angry. He is the 2nd close friend of mine from Foothill to have taken their own life.
I'd really love to hear from people who knew him later on.
Connie Champagne aka Kelly Brock