Mr. Hook standing in front of Vienna High School Eagles Logo

It is the season for first day of school pictures to be taken and shared broadly, most of which might be the big step into PreK or Kindergarten, but when Max Hook started school PreK and Kindergarten weren't an option so his first, first day was in Mrs. Phyllis Allard first grade class at Vienna Grade School. Since that first, first day Mr. Hook will mark his 70th first day in 2023.

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. Coach Statham holds the most wins of any basketball coach at the college level.

He 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.

School superintendent, Joshua Stafford, who has served the district for 19 years and also graduated from Vienna was a student of Mr. Hook during high school. "I am looking forward to Mr. Hook being here for another 70 years!,” said Stafford. “I was one of his many math students while in high school. He was and is an excellent teacher. Since that time Mr. Hook has continued to be a teacher and mentor to me. While he has taught me a great deal about math, the life changing influence that he had on numerous people is incalculable. I am grateful for Max Hook."

Mr. Hook and his wife Emma have two sons Adam (Julie) Hook and Lucas (Katie) Hook along with 5 grandchildren, Seth, Ethan, Chloe, Molly, and Josie, most of which have had or will have Mr. Hook as a teacher and or coach.

This year Hook will be teaching driver education, serving as an IHSA basketball official, and driving a school bus. The first day for students is on Friday, August 11th.

Hook has been everywhere...

Heartland Teacher celebrates his 70th first day of school screenshot of headline of news interview

If you missed some of the media on Mr. Hook's 70th first day you can check a few of the pieces out at the links at the news stations below.




WGN Chicago