Mr. Hegarty Shares His Hankering for History


Jasmine McIntosh

Since becoming a teacher, one thing that Mr. Hegarty loves is the creativity and originality that his students have.

Maddie Burns, Editor

Social Studies teacher Mr. Hugh Hegarty has a strong passion for teaching history, and it all began with Indiana Jones. 

The first movie of the trilogy came out when Mr. Hegarty was a kid. The main character, Indiana Jones, is a professor of archeology, studying ancient artifacts and always looking for a story behind what he discovered. “This was something that appealed to me,” he said. “That’s kind of what piqued my interest in history.” 

Aside from Indiana Jones, Mr. Hegarty also loved the New York Yankees when he was young. Although it wasn’t until his college years that the team began to win World Championships, being a New York native he grew up attending their games. 

“Being able to go see some players that you still talk about today, people like Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, these are some of my favorite players from that time,” he said. “Seeing them in person was just incredible.”

Although he is satisfied with his decision to leave New York and move to Portland, he still makes sure to catch a Yankees game and uses his love for the team to visit various playing fields. “I love going to new baseball stadiums,” he said. “That’s something I try to do every year, just trying to see someplace new where the Yankees are playing.”

Mr. Hegarty loves the outdoors — something that was a big influence on his decision to move to Portland — and he values being able to live in a city but still be within a 90-minute radius of places like Mt. Hood, the Gorge, and the coast.

Aside from Portland and the natural wonders that surround it, Mr. Hegarty has also been able to find a way to enjoy both nature and history at the same time by visiting National Parks, his favorite being Zion National Park located in Utah. “Just the magnificence of that place, and it’s just very inspiring to see that in person, and I can’t wait to go back someday,” he said. 

Another favorite of Mr. Hegarty’s is a trail called the Navajo Loop in Bryce Canyon National Park, where hikers can look down into the canyon and see “hoodoos,” an unusual rock formation where tall skinny shafts of rock extend straight up from the ground. “It’s just incredible,” he said. Being able to get up close to the hoodoos along with the hike’s beautiful scenery makes this hike one of his favorites. 

Mr. Hegarty’s passion for teaching is inspired by the positive experiences he had throughout his own years in school, specifically high school. The teachers that really stood out to him were the ones who had enthusiasm about the material they were teaching, putting in extra effort to make real-life connections to it. “Whenever this happens, I would just naturally want to learn more, hear more,” he said. And this is a practice he tries to replicate in his own classroom. 

Something else Mr. Hegarty valued in high school was his teachers’ desire to create personal connections with their students. “I found that the [teachers] who took an interest in their students, wanting to know more about them, wanting to know what their interests were,” he said. “Those are the ones that I really connected with.” With this in mind, Mr. Hegarty begins every class with an ice-breaker as a way for his students to get to know their peers and so he can get to know his students.

Mr. Hegarty feels that La Salle is a good fit for who he is as a person. This feeling stems from the first moment he walked through the main hallway at La Salle, looked up, and saw the banners that list the school’s core values. “They immediately spoke to me about the kind of person I’d like to be or that I’d want to be,” he said. “I hope I can pass that along to my students as well.”

Since coming to La Salle, Mr. Hegarty has been able to see his students make a positive impact in their community. “I’m very confident that they will continue to do that as they go out into the world,” he said. Getting to take part in this impact is one of the reasons Mr. Hegarty chose to teach and to come to La Salle.