Staff Spotlight: Mr. Hess


Bryant Martinez

Photo taken by Bryant Martinez, 1:49 P.M, at Godinez Fundamental High School. September 25 2019

Julian Blanco and Bryant Martinez

“This above all: to thine own self be true, And it must follow, as the night the day, Thou canst not then be false to any man.” Reassure those who attend his class that they can succeed and achieve greatness by following their true selves, and not letting others choose for them.

English teacher Thomas “Judd” Hess, lived his early years in the streets of Santa Ana, where he attended Jefferson Elementary, then moved onto MacArthur Middle School, and later graduated from Foothill High School. Jokingly, he said, “those were the days before fundamental schools were a thing.”

His favorite book title growing up was “Heart of Darkness.” “I liked the psychological aspect of it, Marcus’ journey to finding Curts, is the journey to find ourselves, he doesn’t get out unscathed.” Hess, relates to finding oneself with this book because he grew up in a conservative family so Judd’s outlook on the world was different. However, through the love of reading which increased his optimism, he was able to pull through his early years, and create a name for himself through writing and the art of poetry.

His love for writing and appreciating poetry is one of the reasons he teaches poetry-like novels, for “say less, do more” is truly a skillful task to comprehend.

When in Hess’ classroom, one feels welcomed and at ease. His style of teaching outshines many in his field. His connection with his students creates a bond between teacher and scholar. Hess’ way of teaching towards his students is “different,” with his charismatic nature, and his earnest way of speaking, he is easy to go to for advice and information on a certain subject.

 When asked for five books he would recommend Hess replied, “My favorite thing ever written is “Hamlet,” however, I’d add “Moby Dick,” “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn,” “The Scarlet Letter,” and “The Great Gatsby.”

After his Foothill’s graduation, Hess studied and attended UC Irvine, completing his undergraduate there. He later completed his graduate studies at Chapman University, where he earned three Masters degrees in: English, Creative Writing, and Education. His college involvement was positive, ”I had a very good experience, got to know the professors really well, got to know my classmates really well. We had the same groups of students that were in the same classes together. It was nice. College is awesome, I recommend it for everyone.”  He described his college life in one word, “diverse.”

 While studying at college, Hess admits that his love for teaching started when he began an internship with his fellow teacher-mates. There, Hess realized his love for his students and his compassion towards helping people learn.

“Mr. Hess, I think teaches differently than any other teacher here at Godinez. He goes really in-depth with his lessons. The stories he tells always relate to a theme related to the topic we were learning,” said former student, Daniel Ramirez.

Though Hess’ childhood growing up with a larger family was tough, he was always persistent and optimistic. Hess admits he wants the best for his five children.

“My kids are much younger, I suppose I can look forward to the time when they are your age, I’ve had experience with teenagers, the great thing about teaching school, specifically, is the potential of all of you, you’re on the clasp of becoming the person you want to be, getting to help you become who you want to be.” Hess reassures both his family and class that he will try his best to push you forward in order for you to achieve your goals.

“I think he is a really good teacher, he is very nice and is understandable when it comes to personal, or real-life problems,” said Anabel Robles. 

As he continues to teach, he learns more about the lives of students and how to help. Being very dedicated and open-minded, he strives to make every student worthy, making sure they receive the education and care they need.