Elkin City Schools’ highest award to be named after Julia Holthouser Richards


Teacher of year to honor Julia Holthouser Richards

By Wendy Byerly Wood - [email protected]



Molly Smith, from left, a friend of Julia Holthouser Richards, poses for a photograph with Mrs. Holthouser Richards’ former student, Richard Noe, Julia Holthouser Richards and Jann Haynes Gilmore, who was inspired to major in history in college by Mrs. Holthouser Richards. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in history.


Submitted photo

Students of Julia Holthouser Richards say she instilled in them a love of learning.


Submitted photo

The teacher of the year award for Elkin City Schools will receive a new name after Monday night’s board of education meeting, honoring one of the system’s late teachers — Julia Holthouser Richards.

Following Richards’ death in July of 2015, one of her former students, Doug Reinhardt of Statesville, made a request of the board of education to name the media center at Elkin High School in memory of Richards.

But after careful consideration and hearing the stories and comments of past students who spoke about what a great and influential teacher Richards was, Dr. Randy Bledsoe, superintendent of Elkin City Schools, said the school board thought it would be more appropriate to honor her in another way.

During the board recognition portion of Monday’s meeting, which will be held in the Elkin High School media Center at 5 p.m., it will be formally announced the award will now by known as the Elkin City Schools Julia Holthouser Richards Teacher of the Year award, said Bledsoe Thursday.

The award is given to the winner chosen from the school-level winners at Elkin Elementary, Elkin Middle and Elkin High schools.

“These people kept saying what a great teacher she was, so let’s go with teacher of the year,” said Bledsoe of the decision by the school board. “When you talk about this lady in the community, the vast majority look at what she did in her classroom and who she helped individual students apply the teachings she gave and how it impacted their future academic life and their life in general.”

He said he’s received messages from Richards’ former history students from across the continental United States expressing their appreciation for Elkin City Schools’ honoring her in this way.

The presentation Monday will include a short video and a PowerPoint. Bledsoe said family members expected to attend include John, Will, Betty, Robert and Chris Holthouser, and he is asking all former students who had Richards as a teacher to join them at the meeting.

Former student Rick Callaway, who is a member of the 1967 senior class and now lives in Texas, told Bledsoe in a letter, “A good teacher, like a good coach, has a unique opportunity to make a lifelong impact on his students. Julia Holthouser was one such teacher for me.”

Those wishing to share comments and stories about Richards during the presentation Monday will be welcome to do so, Bledsoe said.

Following the presentation Monday, he said a plaque will hang on the wall of the high school, since she was a high school teacher, recognizing the teacher of the year award being named in her memory.

This year’s teacher of the year for Elkin City Schools will be named on June 13 during the end-of-year celebration held for school system staff.

Other board items for Monday’s meeting will include a number of student and staff recognitions, board spotlight on the Elkin Elementary School cafeteria staff, a STEAM update, discussion of topics for the school board retreat in March, discussion on a Drug-Free Elkin brochure and permission form, professional development update, the 2016-17 school calendar, revisions for inclement weather for the 2015-16 school calendar, a first read of a policy on operations of unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), information on the upcoming performances in Elkin by the Barter Theater, the 2015-16 audit contract and budget amendments.

Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.

Molly Smith, from left, a friend of Julia Holthouser Richards, poses for a photograph with Mrs. Holthouser Richards’ former student, Richard Noe, Julia Holthouser Richards and Jann Haynes Gilmore, who was inspired to major in history in college by Mrs. Holthouser Richards. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in history.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_Ms.-Holthouser.students.jpgMolly Smith, from left, a friend of Julia Holthouser Richards, poses for a photograph with Mrs. Holthouser Richards’ former student, Richard Noe, Julia Holthouser Richards and Jann Haynes Gilmore, who was inspired to major in history in college by Mrs. Holthouser Richards. She went on to earn a Ph.D. in history. Submitted photo

Students of Julia Holthouser Richards say she instilled in them a love of learning.
http://elkintribune.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/web1_Ms.-Holthouser1.jpgStudents of Julia Holthouser Richards say she instilled in them a love of learning. Submitted photo
Teacher of year to honor Julia Holthouser Richards

By Wendy Byerly Wood

[email protected]

Elkin Tribune
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