Silver Chips Online

Holt, John

By Jeremy Gradwohl, Online Op/Ed Editor
June 30, 2008

Name: John Holt
Department: Technology
Came to Blair in: 2006
Classes Taught: Computer Systems Technology, Pre-Engineering
Education: Appalachian State University
Previous Jobs: Photographer
Hobbies: Lacrosse, bluegrass music


Technology teacher John Holt idly twirls a file in his hands as he sits on a mini-stool in a third-floor tech lab on the third floor overlooking the courtyard on a bright blue-skied afternoon in May, as he recalled how he had made his career choice and ended up at Blair. Having grown up right down the street from Blair, Holt is accustomed to such afternoons.

John Holt attended nearby Walter Johnson High School, where he played four years of varsity lacrosse. During his senior season, he was the team's Most Valuable Player. Holt continues to stay active in the sport, as he is Blair's varsity assistant coach. "Lacrosse has always been a big part of my life," Holt says. "It's such an exciting and dynamic sport."

As a high school student who relied on being naturally smart rather than hworking hard, Holt took an interest in photography, and continued to major in Technological Photography at Appalachian State in North Carolina. His sports career also continued as an Appalachian State Mountaineer, playing Division I lacrosse.

After graduating in 2005, Holt became a technology teacher at Blair and he is currently in his second year. "I tried to find something that didn't feel like work," Holt said. "That's how I ended up at Blair."

Holt explained his choice to not pursue a career in photography. "I couldn't see myself doing freelance work, so I figured that teaching would be the best alternative," Holt says. "I like teaching because I like to work with kids." He also continues to do freelance photography, including taking pictures of Blair sporting events for Lifetouch Pictures, the company that takes Blair's yearbook pictures.

Teaching technology allows Holt to teach the way he likes as he offers his students unrestricted opportunities with a twist of practical applications. "I like to leave things open for my students to allow them to follow their interests," Holt says. "I really enjoy teaching self-learners. For them, I treat it like independent study."

Holt sees himself as an atypical teacher. "I don't take the average teacher tone," he says. "It's less of a parent-child relationship and more of an older sibling-younger sibling one, where I can be honest and more straightforward."

Holt's lifelong passion for lacrosse continues in his tenure at Blair, where he is a varsity lacrosse coach. "I really wanted to coach lacrosse but it's kind of hard to find a full-time job, so I teach and coach here, at Blair," Holt says. This year, his coaching helped the Blazers achieve an 8-6 season.

Some parts about coaching lacrosse are more difficult for John Holt. "The hardest part about coaching lacrosse is probably getting the players to show the same dedication and put in the effort to become better players," Holt says. He has acquired a "tough love" rapport with his players, where they understand the benefits of the hard work they put in at practices. Sophomore Drew Byron plays lacrosse under Holt's coaching. "He's tough, but he definitely knows his stuff," Byron comments. With over a decade of lacrosse experience, Holt is easily an expert. Within ten years, he would like to obtain a full-time lacrosse coaching job at a college.

Holt enjoys a wide variety of music, consisting of classic rock, bluegrass and old school rap. He is also an avid football fan, especially for the Washington Redskins, and as far as lacrosse goes, he likes local schools such as Maryland, Johns Hopkins, Georgetown and his alma mater, Appalachian State.

Whether involving lacrosse or technology, Holt has some advice that all high school students can relate to. "Try lots of things," he says, "You can't be the president but you can be literally anything else."

http://silverchips.mbhs.edu/story/8418