The sound of history teacher Rich Hoppock’s voice can be heard steadily rising in pitch as another witty comment escapes his lips during class. Hoppock’s refreshing deadbeat humor is a staple in his AP Economics, Comparative Government and honors U.S. History classes.
Hoppock studied history and Spanish literature at Cornell University and participated in a study abroad program in Barcelona during his junior year. Upon completion of his years at Cornell, Hoppock decided to take classes on how to teach ESOL, which enabled him to embark on his next adventure: Costa Rica. Hoppock didn’t have a job waiting for him when he arrived in Costa Rica’s capital, San José, which Hoppock described as “the ugliest part of the country.” After a short period of time, Hoppock relocated to a town outside of the capital and began teaching English at a private university for hotel management. However, in Costa Rica, the term “university” can be a relative one.
“To be fair, you can put a ‘university’ sign on any garage, and you have a university in Costa Rica,” Hoppock said.
Hoppock’s experience teaching English in Costa Rica took a painful turn one day when he decided to cross a major highway on foot near where he lived.
“I was crossing the one lane going south while trying to keep an eye on the northbound traffic, and the next thing I know I woke up in a hospital in a wheelchair,” Hoppock said. “It turns out that there wasn’t anybody coming southbound, but someone turned out of my own neighborhood and hit me with a small Datsun pickup truck.”
Hoppock received two knee surgeries in the United States and then returned to Costa Rica for another five months. After his return, Hoppock got a job at a small private school in Washington, D.C. where he taught a myriad of classes, ranging from history to P.E. After a short tenure as a swim coach, Hoppock went back to Costa Rica again to finish his winter teaching sessions. Upon his final return to the D.C. area, Hoppock got his Masters in special education and eventually got a job at FCPS. Not too long after beginning his employment at FCPS, Hoppock went to a social studies department chair meeting where he met his future wife, Eileen.
Recently, Eileen Hoppock, has extended the reach of the Hoppock domain at LB by becoming the new subschool five principal. Now working at the same school, the two frequently collaborate on lesson plans and examine the changes that they see happening within the school and school system.
“It really has been nice to be able to discuss how we see things changing and how we can support students through these great changes,” Eileen Hoppock said. “Education is so different now from what it used to look like.”
Rich and Eileen Hoppock now have two daughters, 3-year-old Cecilia and 1-year-old Fiona.
“They are just wonderful, delightful girls,” Eileen Hoppock said. “[Rich Hoppock] has been nothing but wonderful and is really good with the girls.”