Eric Hilgers

Tier 2 and 3 SEL Group Interventionist

Eric has gifts, talents, and abilities that the majority of our youth admire. He is a rapper; he is masterful at using literary concepts including rhythm, literal and figurative meaning, similes, metaphors, antecedents, and alliteration to engage students in the reading, writing, and speaking process. Eric says, “One of the most effective ways to engage students is  music. Long gone are the days where students will sit and listen to someone lecture at them, especially students within the K-12 school system. They value music, beats, technology, and entertainment. If we do not give them what they want—entertainment, love, encourage, respect, support—we will lose them!” Eric explained that the music we listen to, the words we speak, and the stories we tell, shape our perceptions in life, and that we must give students the opportunity to tell their stories through spoken word and rhyme.

Eric was born and raised in Aurora, Illinois. Like so many others, he did not have the most positive experience in school. He struggled with peer pressure and surrounded himself with peers who used drugs. His story is one of success. Today, at the age of 24, he is an inspiring rapper. He recently released his first album, titled Ignite, and is in the process of working on his second. He has touched the lives of many youth as he travels the country to tell his story through spoken word and rhyme. His music is in stark contrast to “contemporary rap.” He speaks words of affirmation and motivation, and encourages others to strive to develop their thinking and emotions.

Eric is half German and Italian and comes from a cultural background that is consistent with characteristics that are valued within the African-American community—bonding, sharing, dancing, and storytelling. His passion is to help students who come from urban settings identify their purpose in life and to help them find pathways that lead to success.

Eric has worked as a servant leader in the community as he coached youth basketball, baseball, and football. He is currently employed at East Aurora High School.  He explained, “My three favorite words are: transparent, relatable, and relationship.” From working with students in the school system, he believes it is clear that students desire teachers who are transparent, teachers who are able to relate to, or at least respect their [student’s] experiences, and teachers who will go the extra mile to create and maintain sold, lasting relationships.

Eric contracts with school districts to speak with students and to use music to engage them socially, academically, and cognitively. He uses his knowledge of music and mixing beats to create social emotional learning (SEL) music themes. He brings his experiences as a music artist to Tier 1 Educational Coaching and Consulting Services, and works—one student at a time—to close the achievement gap that leaves so many students behind.