Sitting comfortably in a sweater and jeans (typical teacher attire for a Friday) in room 212 of Cape Fear High School, Mrs. Grace Holden reacts to the news that she is this week’s CFNN Teacher of the Week. Mrs.Holden talked to us about her love for history and crafting, about her high school experience and how she may have gotten into teaching.
When it comes to Mrs.Holden’s homelife, she is married and has two children, Annabelle, 11, and Atles, who is 2. They live in the Cape Fear area, home to our Cape Fear High School. Her daughter Annabelle goes to Eastover Central Elementary School, while Atles has a few years until he goes to school.
Mrs.Holden has a few hobbies outside of school. She loves to craft in all areas of crafting. Those things include resin, vinyl, sewing, and other things she enjoys. Her favorite movie is The Notebook, and she loves sit-coms. When it comes to sports, she was never really a sporty person, but as she grew up, she got more into adult softball, and she loves playing that these days.
Holden teaches a variety of subjects. Those include World History, American History, Ap European History, and AP Human Geography, and Speech and Debate. She graduated from Palm Beach County High School in Florida and attended UNC Pembroke, where she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in History.
Mrs. Holden is currently in a graduate program for American History. “This is an interesting way to look at it, it’s called Historiography. So it’s not just looking at the events, it’s looking at how humans look at the events in history,” she said.
When learning history you might view it differently, as she had said her parents may have looked at it differently when they were in school to when she was in school just because of when they learned it.
One of Mrs. Holden’s favorite subjects to teach is Speech and Debate. She enjoys teaching this since the class is an elective. This lets Mrs. Holden know the students want to be there, and they want to learn what she is teaching. When expressing her love for speech and debate and what makes her enjoy teaching it she says, “It has a great academic focus.” Speech and Debate is a once a year class but a year round club. Mrs. Holden had the opportunity to teach the class last semester.
Obviously, the last two school years have been interesting to say the least. Students and teachers learned in a virtual environment during the 2020-21 school year, but returned to in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year. When it comes down to it, the majority of students and teachers prefer in person learning. Some like online, but Mrs.Holden prefers in person learning. She thinks that it is easier to help the students and to teach in general. If the school system were to ever put us back into online learning she would still teach. Because no matter what the students still need teachers to be there.
Mrs. Holden has always had a love for history. Her experience in high school is what led her to teaching. “I was smart but wasn’t driven at all, never took honors or AP. No one ever pushed me to do it, I was just another checkbox,” she recalls.
Mrs. Holden wanted to teach to change the way students were looked at as checkboxes. She wanted to be the person students looked to when needing that extra push. She wanted to help the students realize they weren’t just another checkbox, that they are so much more than that.
Mrs. Holden’s goal was to always come back to the Cape Fear area. Mr. Edkins, the late principal of Cape Fear High School, found Mrs. Holden through their children. Mr. Edkins’ son and Mrs. Holden’s daughter Annabelle were in the same third grade class at Eastover Central Elementary. That is how Mr. Edkins and Mrs. Holden met. Mr. Edkins asked Mrs. Holden to interview for a job to teach at Cape Fear and she ended up where she is today.
She cares for her students very much and always wants to help them whenever she can. One of the things she’s said when it comes to the teaching and her students is “Try and make sure as a whole, if the class isn’t getting, we make sure to go over it again, we don’t just keep moving forward.” She tries to help and adapt some things to the students so everyone will have an equal chance of learning.
It is refreshing to have a teacher who puts so much effort into teaching and caring for her students. Cape Fear High School is lucky to have a teacher of Mrs. Holden’s caliber. Congratulations, Mrs. Holden! CFNN salutes you!