Thomas Hogan, Forever a Tiger

Mr. Hogan's classroom has been turned into a memorial of his time at A.I.

Mr. Hogan's classroom has been turned into a memorial of his time at A.I.

Mr. Hogan's classroom has been turned into a memorial of his time at A.I.

Rhys Levine, Staff Reporter

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   On Monday, July 17, 2017, A.I. duPont High School lost one of its best. History teacher Thomas Joseph Hogan, a man who impacted all those who ever came in contact with him, passed away from complications involving his ongoing battle against colorectal cancer. Hogan was the exemplary teacher, an intelligent man passionate about his craft and passing along knowledge to others. Always upbeat and positive, even during his own times of struggle, he kept a smile on his face, and never shied away from telling someone how much he loved them.

   Hogan’s time as a Tiger began in 1984, nearly 35 years ago. During his years as a student, Hogan was an athlete, even being named the captain of the football team. Graduating from the University of Delaware in 1988, he began his pursuit of teaching, and by 1999, found himself working at his high school alma mater.

   Driven and committed to his craft, Hogan taught for for nearly a decade, until he developed  a malignant tumor which, according to Christiana Care, was diagnosed as stage III rectal cancer. Although Hogan did take a temporary leave of absence to go through radiation and chemotherapy, his love of and commitment to teaching pushed him to begin working once again.

   Amazingly, throughout all of the physical drainage Hogan endured, it seemed his spirit would never die. Jennifer Abernethy, a former student of Hogan’s who now works as an AP Language teacher here at A.I., marveled at his consistency and unwavering dedication to teaching and for the A.I. community.

   “For him to have that same kind of passion when I was a student at 15 to when I started working here at 28, that’s a big chunk of time,” remembered Abernethy.

   Amy Huebner, math teacher, a close friend and longtime coworker of Hogan’s, also admired his inclusiveness to other staff members.

   “He was very inclusive of everybody, especially if you were newer. He made sure that the newer you were, the more welcome you felt,” recalled Huebener.

   And, even as his health began to decline and his strength started to fade, Hogan’s kindness and warmth remained strong. Sophomore Jessica Weyl, who was part of Hogan’s final economics class, found that his caring yet informative teaching style helped ease the transition from middle school into high school.

   “He knew how to have fun in class, but when it was time to be serious, he could get his point across,” explained Weyl.

   Yet what stood above all else when it came to Hogan was his ability to understand and personally connect with people as a friend and mentor. Embracing and loving everybody he knew, Hogan was never afraid to step in and assist others.

   Social studies teacher Cristina Kalesse, who worked next door to Hogan for 10 years, detailed his prodigious graciousness and generosity.

   “If somebody didn’t eat all weekend, he would go out and buy them food. If someone didn’t have clean clothes, he would bring them in clothes from home. He didn’t have to, but he did. He was compassionate about what you were going through even when he was having a tough time,” said Kalesse.

   Tom Hogan was a man of many words, wise and humorous alike, but few are more recognizable than the mantra he encouraged all of his students to follow: “Do the right thing.” Hogan pushed each and every individual who came in and out of his classroom to work their hardest and to be the best person they could be simply because it was the right thing to do. The statement may seem simple at first glance, but for Hogan, doing the right thing was all-encompassing. It was working hard. It was being kind to others. It was everything he stood for.

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Thomas Hogan, Forever a Tiger