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May 12, 2014
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A teacher’s fond farewell

In late summer of 1981, I was hired to teach math and science at Union Hill Elementary School, and now have come to my final year as a teacher here.

As I get ready to leave my classroom, I want to say, “Thank you,” to Union Hill, to its governing board, its staff members, its administration and support staff, its custodians, its wonderful PTC, and its cherished families.

Thank you, Union Hill, for giving me my first job in a California public school.

With a young wife and expecting our first child, my new job came as a blessing beyond anything one can imagine.

Having been marginally employed through the summer of 1981, I knew the serious and somber financial worries faced by a young man who is unable to provide for all his family’s needs.

And, almost like a miracle, there was income when we needed it the most, and health insurance that actually paid for the doctors and medicine and health care.

So thank you, because you not only gave me that first chance to teach, you also gave me the peace of mind to do it.

Thank you, Union Hill. You nurtured me professionally, helping to provide the many hours of workshops by which I refreshed and renewed my credential along the way.

And thank you for your support and encouragement while I worked toward my master’s degree, and your recognition upon its achievement.

Thank you, Union Hill, because you gave me a place to teach the way I teach. Not every school would have made room for me the way you have.

Through each year, you have given me the encouragement to grow with the latitude to be myself in the classroom. That’s a truly fine gift for a teacher.

Thank you, Union Hill, for the way you have embraced me and my family, from the time my children were born, through all their years within your gyms and classrooms and playgrounds. Thank you especially, for the way you helped to carry us past our grief when we lost our dear loved ones.

Thank you, Union Hill for being a preschool through eighth-grade program. You have allowed me to teach in a multitude of grades, which kept me young and challenged me; but more important than that, your format allowed my whole family to be on one campus together, at a time when other school programs would have scattered them to the winds.

Union Hill, you are kind to your families and you help keep them whole.

Finally, thank you Union Hill, for the great honor you have shown me, by trusting me with your precious students over the years.

In my classroom last year, I was honored to teach the granddaughter of one of my first Union Hill students.

The thought that I have had three generations of your students in my classroom fills my heart to overflowing.

I feel certain that no teacher could ever have asked for a finer school in which to invest a career.

So, since August of 1981, Union Hill has been my professional focus and my classroom has been my home away from home.

Outside my own family, the Greater Family that is Union Hill has embraced me as one of their own.

I look forward to going to the store or to the movies because I know I’ll see a familiar Union Hill face somewhere along the way.

However, now that I’m retired, I hope you’ll allow me to say, “Please remind me of your name.”

After all, it may have been a couple of generations since I saw you last.

Bill Heck lives in Grass Valley.

(T)hank you Union Hill, for the great honor you have shown me, by trusting me with your precious students over the years.


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The Union Updated May 22, 2014 04:36PM Published May 22, 2014 04:33PM Copyright 2014 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.