Heartland teacher celebrates his 70th first day of school

The first day of school is often a celebration of sorts. For one Heartland man, it’s the 70th time he gets to celebrate
Published: Aug. 11, 2023 at 5:11 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 11, 2023 at 5:20 PM CDT
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VIENNA, IL. (KFVS) - The first day of school is often a celebration of sorts. For one Heartland man, it’s the 70th time he gets to celebrate.

Max Hook has been a student, a coach and a teacher. As each new school year begins, the Vienna native continues to make an impact.

August 11 is Hook’s 70th first day of school. Hook said he remembers the first time he ever stepped foot in a school.

“I went to Vienna grade school here, I remember my first day I cried like a little scared brat which I probably was, I wanted to go home with mom,” said Hook. “I got to stay, and I remember all my first grade teachers in order and most of my high school teachers too.”

Hook was a standout basketball player. He said those were some of the best times of his life.

“I always bring up the year 65-66 we had a pretty good basketball team that I was lucky to be apart of,” said Hook. “We set the school record for wins that year and it was tied 4 times after that and this past year it finally got broke. We set it at 24.”

Hook racked up his first 12 years in school at Vienna Grade and Vienna High Schools. After graduating from high school, he went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in education at McKendree College adding four more first days. Hook was brought to McKendree as the first basketball recruit of coach Harry Statham, who holds the most wins of any basketball coach at the college level.

Hook then started his career as a teacher and coach at Breese Central before making his way back to Vienna, where he has served as a teacher and coach since 1982, bringing the running total of first days of school to 70. Hook also held the record for most wins of any baseball coach in Vienna High history for many years until it was recently broken by coach David Hill.

Joshua Stafford is Vienna School’s Superintendent. Stafford said that Max has made quite the achievement.

“Max does an excellent job for it being his 70th first day of school, that’s an unbelievable accomplishment,” said Stafford.

Stafford said that Hook was one of the teachers for him and his parents.

“Max is one of those guys that is just always willing to step up and help anybody out. He is really a role model for so many of us. And I think of Max as a mentor to myself whenever I think about him,” said Stafford.

Nowadays, Hook is working part time at Vienna High School. He teaches drivers education and also drives a bus route.

But he said he’s going to continue being involved with the Eagles as much as he can.

“Just hope I can continue as long as I’m accepted here, I feel like I’m affective so far,” said Hook.