Jake Hoffman - A Chemistry Teacher's Legacy
Mr. Henry “Jake” Hoffman, after 42 years of educating LCA students in science, has announced his retirement at the end of the 2014-2015 school year. Mr. Hoffman has been a strong and positive influence on many generations of LCA students and will surely be missed!
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Read some quotes from students touched by his career:
"I remember looking up to Jake Hoffman as Student Body President and hoping that I’d do a good job as he did."
– Fred Mihm ’65
"A memorable memory was the fire at the school. It happened on my birthday, so spending most the day in the parking lot and realizing it was not a false alarm - but a real fire - made the day one to remember. I was in Mr. Hoffman's classroom finishing up a chemistry experiment when the floor started popping underneath me. Soon the fire alarm went off and we all went outside. As we walked to the main entrance to exit the school there was smoke in the hallway."
– Bethany Morse ’95
"Teachers at LCA like Jake Hoffman helped me see the fingerprints of God in the complexities of chemistry and physics. I left LCA focused on an initial career in science, thanks to Jake Hoffman."
– Josh Bennett ’93
"The science education that I received at LCA through Mr. Hoffman was outstanding technically and served as the foundation for my studies towards a doctorate. In addition, it was obvious that Mr. Hoffman cared deeply about teaching and was invested in his students' success. I will always remember how emotional he became upon learning that I could not attend the university of my choice. In retrospect, where I went to school didn't matter. What really mattered was my love of science that he worked hard to nurture."
– Dr. Krist Azizian ’92
"I took two year-long classes with Mr. Hoffman during my time at LCA–physics during my junior year, and chemistry during my senior year. I can say with certainty that Mr. Hoffman was my favorite teacher, of the many wonderful teachers, at LCA. The reason I can say this with certainty, is that his classes are the classes that I have most frequently reflected on since my time at LCA.
I learned a lot from Mr. Hoffman about physics and chemistry, but I also learned a lot from Mr. Hoffman about life and faith. A few memories, in particular, stand out:
- During physics my junior year I fell asleep (although Mr. Hoffman's lectures were riveting, I'm not sure what happened...) and, while not breaking from his lecture notes, Mr. Hoffman walked to the back of class, picked up an enormous metal pole and dropped it on the floor directly next to my desk, while continuing to teach. The incredible noise of the pole crashing on the floor spoke much more loudly than any words Mr. Hoffman could have used, in teaching me the value of not sleeping in class.
- Another frequent tactic Mr. Hoffman employed was particularly helpful in quieting us all down while we were getting rowdy as he taught. He would simply and quickly lower his voice while continuing to teach-almost as if to say "shut up and listen to what I'm saying." It ALWAYS worked. We would look at each other, realize we were caught, and then start paying attention to his teaching.
However, more than these examples, Mr. Hoffman, instilled in me a deep love of physics. Although I have not entered the scientific field, I know that the wonderful way he taught about the earth that God created, and how we fit into it, helped me have a love for science and the way the world works. I still frequently reference my favorite physics equation (Fg=G * Mm/r squared) and can recite many of the equations and constants I learned from Mr. Hoffman. He had an amazing knack of boiling down complex ideas into simple and easily understandable nuggets of information.
More important, however, than a love for physics, was the deep connection Mr. Hoffman made between the created world and the Creator. As I sat and listened to Mr. Hoffman for the two years I was privileged to be his student, I remember an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper that hung on the board behind him. There was a simple, yet profound truth, on the paper: "In him all things hold together." These words from Colossians 1, have resonated deeply with me as I have grown beyond LCA, through college, and beyond. As I look at the world and wonder at it's complexity and beauty, I have thought about the truths I learned from Mr. Hoffman. As I have faced uncertainty, hardship, and trials, I have reflected on the vastness of the universe and the fact that God holds it all together. In fact, I can't read that wonderful passage of Scripture without thinking of Mr. Hoffman.
So-here's to a lifetime of shaping young minds, instilling a love of science, keeping us awake and alert to the truth we needed to hear and, most importantly, connecting every truth to the stunning beauty and majesty of God. Congratulations on a job very well done, Mr. Hoffman. I'm thankful for your impact on my life and faith."
–Bjorn Anderson ‘94
"The thing I remember most vividly about my time at LCA was the first day of Chemistry in Mr. Hoffman’s class. He opened the bible and read out of Mark and prayed for the class. My first thought was, we just prayed in science class.” That was the first time I experienced the lesson that you can’t separate your theory from your practice."
–Lydia Brown ’11