The 2021-2022 school year has been “a dream come true” for one Hayes High School teacher who returned to the school this year after graduating in 2016.
Josh Hill, one of the new math teachers at the school this year, said he’s wanted to be an educator since he was in kindergarten.
“I actually wrote about it in my kindergarten questionnaire,” Hill said.
As a senior in high school, Hill said he decided he wanted to return to Hayes at some point in the future.
“From the moment that I was filling out college apps (I wanted) to come back,” he said.
Hill added he was drawn back to Hayes after he received his degree because of the atmosphere around the school.
“What made me want to come back is the community and the culture,” he said. “The community as a whole and the city is very homey. I love the downtown space and all the familiar faces around. The culture of the school has been great. I love the way the teachers care for the students. I knew those would be teachers that would care about me and us working together.”
Hill said he’s enjoyed reconnecting with his former teachers who are now his coworkers.
“It’s been really great,” he said. “The amount of teachers that I had in class that have stopped by to make sure I have everything I need has been insane. (For example), Department Chair Jacob Shafer. I had him for calculus my senior year … now he’s helping me out as a mentor.”
Hill said the change has been strange and funny.
“It’s still weird being on a first name basis,” he said. “The thing that’s been so comforting is that everyone helped me so much when I was coming through this school that I feel more than comfortable asking for help now.”
Hill said he’s already built some relationships with students he knew when he was a student.
“Something that’s been really fun has been getting to see siblings of some of my old friends as well as kids that grew up in the same neighborhood as me,” Hill said. “It’s great to see familiar faces and make an instant connection because they’ve been in the community just like I have.”
Hill said he’s enjoyed the beginning of the school year, and the job is everything he hoped it would be.
“(It’s) still a dream come true,” he said. “I would love to teach here until I retire.”