Kindness to the Cosmos


Kindness to the Cosmos

By Reece Riley and Kara Canty


“Today’s Daily Q is up on the whiteboard,” Mr. Hecker tells the class as his smile grows bigger, delighted to see his class. Mr. Hecker is the 6th grade science teacher at Hermosa Valley School. If you ever stumble upon a tall man with a big smile wearing a yellow jacket, shorts, and a yellow scarf, you’ve run into Mr. Hecker. If you do not know Mr. Hecker, you should be wishing you knew him because he is a remarkable teacher. He hopes that after being these students’ teacher for a full school year, he will have brought value to their learning.

Some of you might not know Mr. Hecker, but he has been teaching at Hermosa Valley for 11 years! He has had experience teaching both 6th and 7th grade, and currently teaches 6th grade Earth science. He has also taught many different subjects in the past like PE, health, and even music!! Mr. Hecker grew up in an apartment on the strand, attending Hermosa for grades 1-6. For the following years, he attended Hermosa Beach Middle School (HBMS), now known as Hermosa Valley School. Mr. Hecker went to Mira Costa High School in Manhattan Beach, then studied at El Camino College for two years.

Mr. Hecker stands out from the rest of the teachers which is why we decided to profile him. Rather than being the typical science teacher who tells you to read the book and take notes, he helps you understand the material and always gives you a visual for better understanding. We remember last year when we began chapter 5 in our science books, Mr. Hecker walked through the aisle and began shaking our desks, as if there was an earthquake!  

Mr. Hecker has two kids, a son as well as a daughter. His son is 16 years old and is a junior at Palos Verdes High School. His daughter is 13 years old and is in 8th grade attending Palos Verdes Intermediate School (PVIS). When Mr. Hecker was a kid, he wanted to become a police officer when he grew up. It wasn’t until about college that he knew science was his passion. He knew that he wanted to get a major in science and become a science teacher. Mr. Hecker majored in kinesiology, the study of human biomechanics. He wanted to have a major in this because he knew he would be an athletic coach and knowing about the human body would help him.   

Mr. Hecker tells us that watching the total solar eclipse with his daughter in Madras this summer was the most incredible experience he has ever had. He says, “It’s the same way, how a photo can never express epic sunsets.” Something most people don’t know about Mr. Hecker is that he starred in the HBMS play. When he was in 6th grade, he auditioned for the middle school play, and although he was not even a student at HBMS, he got the lead role as Charlie Brown in You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown. Mr. Hecker won the award for most improved in his PE class in middle school. I bet you didn’t know that before you read this. He began the baseball unit throwing the bat, rather than hitting the ball, which he said, “was threatening everybody’s life.”

Not only is Mr. Hecker the 6th grade science teacher at Hermosa Valley, but he is also the coach for the HVS cross-country team. Mr. Hecker says, “They are just spectacular.” He likes that in this sport, students race against themselves, helping to improve their running times. He loves to say, “You can always beat your score next week!” Mr. Hecker taught high school track in Palos Verdes for 12 years before just teaching at HVS. Mr. Hecker’s favorite tool is a stopwatch because you’re racing the clock on a pre-measure course, and there is no confusion on the results. He says, “It’s nice to have a squad here, and it is a much smaller group compared to his 200 athlete high school squad, which is more relaxed and fun!”   

Although he does love science in general, Mr. Hecker’s favorite thing to teach is natural disasters because they are very cool to learn about. He loves to teach specifically about earthquakes and volcanoes.  “You come out of my class and know about the Earth, I hope you do.” Mr. Hecker told us during the interview. Mr. Hecker hopes to continue his career as a science teacher in the future. Always remember, “Kindness to the Cosmos!”