Hamilton Community Mourns Loss of High School Teacher After Crash

Posted at 7:12 PM, Dec 04, 2013
and last updated 2013-12-04 19:13:39-05

Teacher Killed in M-40 CrashHAMILTON, Mich. – The Hamilton Community School District is mourning the loss of a high school teacher who was killed in a Wednesday morning crash on M-40.

Joshua Hoppe, 30, of Zeeland died after his car was trapped under a semi-truck south of I-196. He was on his way to an early-morning staff meeting.

On the way to the meeting, staff members said they heard about the crash and then realized Hoppe wasn’t there. That’s when Doug Braschler, the high school principal, drove to the scene.

Hoppe was a government teacher and a big part of the community, said David Tebo, the school’s superintendent during a news conference. He thought of teaching as more of a passion than a job and treated every child individually, striving to push them to their full potential. He believed in them and their opportunity to grow, said Tebo.

Former student Sidney Grady, said Hoppe impacted her life so much that she is actually going into political science at Grand Valley State University because of him.

“I feel really sorry for the people that never got to experience his teaching.  I don’t know if anyone can ever do as good of a job as he did.  He was just a great teacher,” she said.

Hoppe took teaching government as a special responsibility. He viewed it as a chance to teach the students how to take care of their country. Teaching was what he lived for – from in the classroom to out on the fields where he coached freshman baseball and junior-varsity football.

For other staff members and students, Tebo said that instead of a regular school day, Wednesday was more of a day filled with everyone being there for each other.

“You’re always are thankful for teachers that go beyond life in the classroom and Josh lived that every day,” said Braschler.
Hoppe was going into his sixth year with the district. He leaves behind his wife, parents, a brother and a sister.

The crash that killed Hoppe happened around 6:19 a.m. in front of Tulip City Truck Stop on the southern edge of Holland in Allegan County.

The tractor-trailer, driven by David St. John, 54, of Welston, Mich. was pulling out of the restaurant parking lot onto northbound M-40. Hoppe apparently tried to stop but couldn’t. St. John was not hurt.