“He’s not only a brilliant teacher, but if anyone lives our mission, if anyone is best suited to tell us what drives him to care for you, to teach you, to live our mission… it’s Mr. Ron Holtz.”
With those introductory remarks by Principal Collins, biology teacher Ron Holtz took center stage in the St. Thomas Aquinas gymnasium today and launched the inaugural TOM Talk. TOM Talks are STA’s emulation of TED Talks. While TED Talks present on “ideas worth spreading,” TOM Talks center on a theme applicable to our unique STA community. The current TOM Talk theme around which each upcoming talk will focus is “What drives you?” And so, to the full STA community this morning, Mr. Holtz responded with his answer. The idea that everyone, everybody has a truth is what drives me. And when you find that truth, well, that is where beauty lies.
Over the course of 20 minutes, Mr. Holtz drew our community’s attention to areas in his life where he has seen truth and beauty intersect. With a brief lesson on sound waves and brain reception, he reminded us that there is beauty in human anatomy and science. The beauty comes from the fact that all of that electrical information traveling deep into the recess of your brain develops emotions, like a sense of wonder, a sense of awe, a sense of calm.
He reflected on his own family- his wife, his mother, his two daughters- and acknowledged how each of them reflects her own truth and beauty by following her individual passions.
My wife, Kristie. I hope that each of you in your lifetime finds someone who encourages you to find your truth, who accepts your truth and who is willing to take part of your truth because if you do, then that is a beautiful thing.
My mom. My mom does what moms do. Words cannot describe the beauty of a mom.
My daughters. My daughters' quest to find what is truly their truth started here at St. Thomas Aquinas High School with their engagement with STA teachers. Teachers who shared their own compassion, their own joy, their own wisdom with my daughters so that they can know what it’s like to have joy and passion in their lives.
If you wander the hallways of STA and listen to classroom conversations, you will hear teachers sharing truth around numbers and symbols and equations so that Saints can find truth behind what they’re learning.
This year, the impetus behind the 2018-19 school year is a concerted effort to “raise the bar,” to elevate the standard by which we at STA measure the norm. Mr. Holtz acknowledged how this intentional approach has affected him.
What drives me to St. Thomas Aquinas High School every day is that I am surrounded by friends and colleagues who challenge me to raise the bar. That is the truth and it is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
Ron Holtz has been a staple at St. Thomas Aquinas High School since his first year of teaching in 1985. He has served as teacher, coach, mentor, friend and even interim principal. With humor and self-effacing charm, he wore his “Mr. STA cap” exceptionally well today as he drove home his final point to the students.
Last week was exceptionally hot…. Yet every day, you came in, you sat down, you participated, you showed up. You, the students of St. Thomas Aquinas High School, care. You do.
What drives me to St. Thomas Aquinas every day and has for over 30 years, it’s that you- the students of St. Thomas Aquinas High School- care. That is the truth.
And that is a beautiful, beautiful thing.
There is pride. And then there is Saints Pride. Thank you, Mr. Holtz, for personifying- and inspiring- the latter.
Every. Single. Day.