Redwood’s legend and its favorite rapper to leave by end of year

On June 11, one of Redwood’s most distinguished figures will be graduating after over 20 years of dedicated service.

Campus supervisor Levi Hooks will retire after chaperoning the trip to France this summer.

“For the past 6 years, Mademoiselle Rattet has been trying to see if I would be able to go [on the France trip], and it just turned out that this last year that I’m going to be here, I was able to go,” Hooks said.

Hooks is extremely excited to go to France for the first time this summer.

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Levi Hooks will be retiring at the end of the school year to spend more time with his wife.

“I’ve never been to Paris. I’ve been to Canada, which is close,” Hooks joked. “[This trip] is going to be action-packed, it’s going to be fast, and it’s going to be quite thrilling. There’s going to be all the places that I’ve heard about and seen, but I’m actually going to be there physically.”

Upon Hooks’ return from France, he will be spending his days with his ailing wife.

“I had planned on retiring in 2018, but my wife’s health has gotten worse, so there’s a number of things that are going to require more attention from me. I’ve missed a lot of staying home with her to make sure that she was okay, so I’m retiring this year because I need to spend more time with her.”

Looking back on the past 20 years, Hooks described the students as “very high quality.”

“Ninety-five to 97 percent of the students are very well spoken. There’s a lot of politeness here. Students are direct. They tend to say what’s on their minds, and I like that in people. That’s encouraging because a lot of times teenagers tend to be a little shy, but there’s a kind of confidence that a lot of students have here that is good,” Hooks said.

One special quality that Hooks has noticed is the ability for Redwood students to see the faults in their actions and seek forgiveness.

“Even the students who have an attitude and are resistant to being caught, they either later during a conversation or a day or two later will realize that we’re not out to get them, and I’d say that most of them come and apologize,” Hooks said. “The quality of the students that have been through here has been consistent through all my years.”

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However, Redwood wasn’t always such a well-reputed school. During Hooks’ first two years here, the kids were “wild.”

“I used to have an office right here in the front, and there was a student that was here that we caught trying to sell drugs,” Hooks recalled. “We caught him and I walked him back to my office, and he destroyed it! He flipped the desk and turned over all the filing cabinets.”

Today, students are more mellow, although Hooks does have to discipline students who have alcohol on campus sometimes. In this respect, Hooks has seen Redwood change for the better.

“The school district is very supportive in trying to get [students] supported and treated, so that has changed. The students are not automatically suspended– it’s more health-oriented,” said Hooks.

Junior Charlotte Montoya believes that Hooks is a huge part of the Redwood culture and has made a significant impact during his time here.

“It’s a mix of [emotions] because [Hooks] is a huge part of the campus and it’s sad to see him go, but at the same time, someone who does work that hard does deserve to eventually stop,” Montoya said.

Upon departure, Hooks believes it will take an adjustment to no longer work at Redwood.

“[Redwood] kind of gets to be like coming home, because there’s so many things that I’m accustomed to and so many things that I like,” Hooks said.

Hooks is not the only person leaving Redwood this year. Ryan Shaw, another campus supervisor, will be transferring to Drake soon.

“I don’t know when that’ll be, it may even be next week,” Shaw said. “I’m going to Drake.”

Shaw coaches Drake’s track and basketball teams, and decided to transfer his job to Drake to make easier to commute to work.

Ryan Shaw will be leaving by the end of the school year to go work at Drake, where he coaches basketball and track.
Ryan Shaw will be leaving by the end of the school year to go work at Drake, where he coaches basketball and track.

“It’s just a convenience thing for me,” Shaw said. “I have no reason to reason to leave Redwood, I love it here, I just have a reason to go there.”

Shaw has been working at Redwood for the past three years, and Hooks was the one who taught him about his job.

“It was awesome [working with Hooks],” Shaw said. “I learned a lot from him as far as the day-to-day, and dealing with staff and kids on a number of levels. He’s just a great guy too, so it was easy to work with him.”

Despite the time he spent at Redwood, there is one thing that Shaw wished he had done.

“My one regret is not getting to know everybody better, but I’ve really enjoyed my time here,” Shaw said. “I have no complaints about Redwood.”

Additionally, Shaw said that he wished that Hooks had performed at least once with the students.

“[Hooks] is a drummer, and I always wanted him to sit in on a song with all the kids when they were playing up there [at rallies], I’m sure they would have gotten a kick out of it,” said Shaw.