Iconic teacher leaves Cal

History teacher Scott Hodges retires after 23 years


Isaac Oronsky

History teacher Scott Hodges plays the guitar with Partial Credit during his last performance in late May. Hodges is retiring after 23 years at Cal High.

After 23 years of teaching at Cal High, beloved AP U.S. History teacher Scott Hodges is retiring in June and starting a new chapter in his life.

Hodges started teaching in Austin, Texas after finishing his graduate work in 1996. He made his way to California and began teaching at Cal High in 1998. He has taught Geography, World History, AP European History, and AP U.S. History (APUSH).

“My favorite memory [about teaching at Cal High] has been the connections I have established over the years with students,” Hodges said. “It’s really nice to make the connections and maintain them.” 

Hodges said he loved being able to meet up with his former students, whether it be for a cup of coffee or a short stroll along the Iron Horse Trail.

Many of Hodges’ APUSH students thoroughly enjoyed his course, and have fond memories of his enthusiasm as he greeted his students everyday with a big smile.  

“His personality in the classroom was infectious and made learning so much fun,” said senior Cade Llewellyn, who took Hodges’ class his junior year. “I never dreaded walking into his class.” 

Students were not the only ones who enjoyed Hodges’ attitude. AP Government teacher Brandon Andrews said he always admired Hodges’ positivity. 

“He’s one of the most positive people on campus and I think it’s a true testament of an individual to have been in education for so long and still be positive at the end,” Andrews said.

World History teacher Hannah Cheng laughed with joy when thinking back to all the good memories she shared with Hodges. 

“I love Mr Hodges, he makes me smile and laugh everytime I talk to him, or even look at him from across the room,” Cheng said. “He’s such a good guy. I can always go to Mr. Hodges for anything, and he always has a positive spin on things, even during hard times.”

Along with a great demeanor, students also enjoyed the way Hodges taught his APUSH course. 

“I liked how all the work we did had a purpose. There was never a day where we just did busy work,” Llewellyn said. “He also had such a strong will for his students to succeed.”

Senior Evelyn Lee shared some of the same sentiments when talking about Hodges’ APUSH class.

“Mr. Hodges is a teacher who uplifts his students rather than pointing out their shortcomings,” Lee said. “He puts immense trust and faith into his students, which in turn makes them want to succeed in his class.”

His teaching style was very unique and engaging, according to many of his students. 

“My favorite part about his class is definitely the cultural literacies,” said junior Adam Linari, who is currently taking his APUSH class. “These lessons really brought out the lesser known parts of history, and allowed for an interesting break from the sometimes monotonous textbook.” 

These cultural literacies stuck with many students, such as 2015 graduate Liz Castaneda, who talked about how they were one of the main reasons she enjoyed the class so much. 

“I remember learning about the true meaning of the ‘Wizard of Oz’ and how excited Mr. Hodges was when he taught us about it,” Castaneda said. “It was one of those moments that really showed me how great of a teacher he was.”

Hodges’ classes may have been fun, but he made sure to make it challenging as well, always pushing students past their comfort zones. 

“He challenges his students so much,” Cheng said. “Even though his AP classes are so structured, he never seems to forget that students want to learn and want to be challenged and he always does that, even if it’s super tiring.” 

Not only is Hodges a great teacher to many, but he also was one of the founders of the school’s very own teacher band, Partial Credit. Without him, the band may have never gotten together, said fellow band member Andrews. 

“There would not be a teacher band without Mr. Hodges because it was our idea initially to start playing together on campus and what has become the teacher band kind of grew out of that,” Andrews said.

Students always enjoyed the Partial Credit performances during lunch back when everyone was on campus. 

“One of my favorite memories with Mr. Hodges has to be how excited he was about his band,” Linari said. “He would always show us any of the new stuff the band was working on, and the one time I got to see them live, you could tell how much he enjoyed being up there making music.”

Cheng also has many fond memories with Hodges that she will forever cherish, such as going to one of Cal’s parking lots to play frisbee since they both had played on the Ultimate Frisbee team when they attended UC Santa Cruz. 

“We would just throw the frisbee with each other, and spend some time together and take a break,” Cheng said. “It was so nice to share that with somebody, with Mr. Hodges.”

Once he retires, Hodeges plans to travel a lot, with an upcoming trek in Nepal. 

“I’m really looking forward to being back on the road,” Hodges said. “I have a road trip planned this summer to go see the Southwest and I’m really looking forward to international travel as well.”

Cal students and staff said they would greatly miss Hodges and his contagious smile on campus, and they wish him the best as he starts this exciting new chapter of his life.

“Mr. Hodges is one of the best teachers I’ve had at Cal,” Lee said. “Not only did he teach me history, but he made me love it. I’m going to miss the way his face lit up when one of his old students came to visit him and the awkward silence in the classroom after he told one of his many bad jokes.”