Students heard shouting “Mr. Heithoff’s Back!”

By Jessie Reestman
Staff writer
School is back in session, and for many families, returning to the classroom most likely required gathering the necessary school supplies, possibly getting a new pair of gym shoes, maybe a new bookbag, and adapting to a new schedule. However, for Elgin Public music teacher Eric Heithoff, returning to the classroom required a great deal more. For just about a year ago, the young teacher and father had been diagnosed with Leukemia, forcing him to take a leave of absence and focus on his health.
Now, a new school year has begun, and after a long, difficult journey, Eric has triumphantly returned to the classroom. I recently had the privilege of asking him a few questions about his return and the upcoming year.
Eric began by sharing his feelings about being back in the classroom. “It was great to see the kids and get back into the swing of things. The first day back was great. I was constantly hearing, “Mr. Heithoff’s back,” especially from the elementary kids, so I think they were pretty excited. I have a lot of fun things planned for them this year, so I’m glad that they’re glad I’m back.”
Admitting he is not quite at the place he was before his diagnosis, Eric shared, “My singing voice is nowhere close to where it needs to be yet, but I will get plenty of practice singing along with the kids. As far as my energy goes, I’m about 85-90%. My strength isn’t quite back to where I want it to be, but it is a lot better than it was a couple of months ago, so I am sure I will be back to 100% in no time.” Turn to the Elgin Review to read the complete story.”