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“Domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, species.” If I walked into Mrs. Holdmann’s 10th grade biology class in the middle of second semester, this is what I would hear. Learning about mitosis, meiosis, and molecules from a merely 5’7” motherly woman is nothing short of fascinating.


The kids (including me) that couldn't remeber that metaphase came before telophase or how to focus a microscope properly were never forgotten, failed, or felt left behind. Mrs. Holdmann found ways to make those kids succeed. This included meeting after class or giving extra practice homework. 


Walking into this class right before eighth hour was like coming up for fresh air when I was being drowned by math, English, and history. Seeing her face down the extensive Arrowhead High School South campus hallway made everyone's day better.


One spring afternoon, I had bad day, and not even her class made it better. As I was leaving the cinder block room, with lab tables spread around the perimeter, I heard her say something. “Shelby? You okay?”


I never have had a teacher ask me that question before and it came as a shock because teachers aren't here to care about us, right? They teach us things we won't use past our graduation day and that's it. But not Mrs. Holdmann.


I turned around and responded with “What?”


She repeated herself. “Shelby? You okay?”


That simple conversation turned my whole day around and made me realize how much she cared.


One of my favorite memories from Mrs. Holdamnn’s class was being assigned a “husband” or “wife” and slowly making a biology baby. My husband and I combined our genes and ended up with a pretty funky baby. When the project ended, I had learned so much about my family background and myself. This experience in her class will stay with me for a long time.


Mrs. Holdmann knew how to make the class laugh, with her attempts at the “teen slang” or not telling us to put our phones away but telling us to “stop Snapchatting” like she was back in high school. 


I loved how she cared about events happening in my life. When I broke my ankle, I walked into her class. After explaining how it happened she, with a bit of a smirk, said “only you Shelby.”


I can honestly say Mrs. Holdmann is the only teacher I have had for a subject I absolutely loathed that turned it into a class I loved.






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