Love him or hate him, not many teachers have worked as hard for the students of Southern Utah as Mr. Holt. Ferron Holt has been a music educator and teacher for 37 years; first at Delta High School, then in the Washington County School District, and has been a member of the Utah Music Educators Association since 1976. In that time it is estimated that he has taught upwards of 10,000 students the joys of music and hard work. How do I know how hard Mr. Holt has worked during the years of his teaching career? Well, Mr. Holt is my dad. In fact, some of my first memories involve being tossed into the wrestling mat storage room off of the gym at Delta High School to play with my brother while dad led the pep band during basketball games. Go Rabbits! And since then there has hardly been a day of my life in which he was not participating in some extra, after school or weekend activity involving music, drama or art.

Now I know that Ferron is not perfect. Some of his teaching techniques were, shall we say, unconventional. But don’t you know a few students who you wish you could throw an eraser at? Mr. Holt didn't suffer fools, although he’d be the first to admit that he sometimes was one. He expected everyone to work as hard as he did and wasn't afraid to call people on their BS (that stands for bullshit). I have inherited his penchant for using the word jackass (sorry kids).  But if you ask him what he’s most proud of he’ll tell you about former students of his who are now teachers, music educators, professional musicians, singers, artists, actors, and teachers. Somehow they survived the flying pencils and batons to take what they learned from Mr. Holt to another generation of students. You know what they say, you can take the band teacher out of the drill sergeant, but you can't take the drill sergeant out of the band teacher. Just kidding.

How do you replace a teacher who is willing to work hours and hours of their personal time a day to organize bands, choirs, art exhibits, write grants that bring in millions of dollars to support the arts in the Washington County School District, attend or direct concerts, fix instruments, mentor students, write letters of recommendation, and wear such amazingly horrible ties?

I guess you don’t, because when Mr. Holt retires this summer after 37 years of teaching, the WCSD will be replacing him with a part time employee. Good luck with that WCSD. Thanks for keeping private teachers like myself in business. Oh, they will be holding a small reception in the district offices for him and two other teachers who are retiring. I guess you can tell that I feel that some grand gesture might be more appropriate. Ferron doesn't really go in for awards, of which he has plenty. His home office is REALLY crowded and we may need to add on to the house to accommodate the cleaning out of his work office and upcoming move home. But I DO know what would mean the world to him, someone saying THANK  YOU.

So here’s what you can do, former students and fellow teachers. Just take 10 minutes out of your day between now and May 17th to write a thank you note, a favorite memory, or dig through old photo albums and send your offering to me by email ( put Mr. Holt in the subject line), letter (Beitler, 2386 Coletero Circle, Washington, Ut. 84780), or facebook message. A facebook page has been set up for this virtual event and you may post things there as well. All letters, notes and pictures will be printed out and given to Mr. Holt in a book at his retirement reception. If you feel inclined to do more, here are a few suggestions: consider a donation to the Holt/Lister Scholarship Endowment, send a donation by PayPal ( and please note Mr. Holt in the payment) to help cover the cost of printing the thank you book. If we get enough money perhaps I can also afford to frame the portrait of Ferron that I’m working on. If anyone wants to give $50 or more, a copy of the portrait will be sent to you as a thank you, so please include your mailing address in your payment.

Surely you can take 10 minutes to help give Mr. Holt something that will help him feel better about letting this job go (do NOT sing Frozen song here). It’s going to be a difficult transition, pray for his wife. Let’s show this great teacher some appreciation!