Words: Ashley Berry
On February 11, Howard County Public School System announced Shalonda Holt as its 2016 Teacher of the Year. As many Centennial students know, Holt is a biology teacher at Centennial, and a majority of the sophomore class is taught by her. Holt will now serve as the Howard County nominee for the Washington Post Teacher of the Year, and will represent Howard County in the pool for Maryland State Teacher of the Year.
After teaching for nine years, Holt still loves it every day. “I really love working with the students,” said Holt. “One reason that I decided to become a teacher is because I love learning; I love learning from my students.” She even recalled that when she was a little girl, she loved playing “school,” and said, “Now I am fulfilling my dream.”
Along with nine other teachers from around the county, Holt was nominated by other staff members and students. Holt said she was honored to be nominated, and “I just felt incredible knowing that I am able to have an impact on people.”
Although loved by students and faculty alike, Holt was still surprised when she heard that she won. “I was in total shock,” admitted Holt, “I did not think I would win because there are so many incredible teachers in this county who are doing amazing things. I witness this everyday working here at Centennial.”
Stephanie Boisvert, a senior at Centennial who had Holt as her biology teacher her sophomore year and is still close to her today, said, “She has inspired me to reach my full potential. No matter what I’m going through, whether it’s school or my personal life, I always know she is there to help me. I have so much respect for her.”
In an article published by the Howard County Public School System, HCPSS Superintendent Renee Foose commented Holt, along with the Principal of the Year, “are great examples of the character and dedication found in our school system.”
After her initial shock from winning the award, Holt was honored. She said, “This award means so much to be because teaching is my passion; it is my life. I could not imagine doing anything else.”
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