Where I’m From: Heidi McInerny, Hill Elementary

This is the second in a series of stories, “Where I’m From,” about LPS elementary school teachers who returned to teach at their old schools.

Hill Elementary School is steeped in history and stories. There’s no better story than the one about the boot in the ceiling. 

In the hallway outside the library at Hill, look up and you’ll see a square piece of clear plastic amidst the whilte ceiling tiles. Through the plastic you’ll see a dangling dirty work boot. It’s believed the boot was left there by a construction worker during a project in 1975. It was discovered seven years later. 

Fifth-grade teacher Heidi McInerny was a sixth-grade student at Hill when the mysterious boot was discovered. The story still brings a smile to her face.

“The teachers had a great time trying to creep us out,” McInerny recalls. “‘Who was in here? What were they doing?’ It was a lot of fun and when the building was remodeled they kept the boot. Pretty fun memory.”

McInerny has plenty of fun memories of her time attending Hill and growing up in the neighborhood. She was a member of the school’s first kindergarten class in 1976. Hill is known for its artwork throughout the building and much of it was created when she was a student. She remembers the two-block walk to and from school every day.

“I like having childhood memories so close,” said McInerny, now in her tenth year at Hill. “I also like being able to share with my students that I was a Hill Hawk.” 

Sometimes those childhood memories are very close. Two years ago she had a student who currently lived in her childhood home. They discovered the student’s room was her old room.

“For me, that was super cool,” McInerny said, adding that the student wasn’t nearly as excited.

Students are more interested in her memories of growing up in the neighborhood. She tells them about how she played on the playground at the Southwest Clubhouse on Tipperary Trail - just like they do now. She tells them about playing at the pond and along the creek at what is now Peterson Park just south of Highway 2 - just like they do now.

Every year she has students complete a writing assignment in which they draw a map that brings back memories. She always draws a map of the neighborhood so she can tell stories about her childhood.

“Memories of fun, laughter and simpler times,” McInerny said. “I love that.” 

Published: September 15, 2020, Updated: September 17, 2020