One year left! Not only is the class of ’07 saying that phrase but Mr. Russ Holland, one of Park Center’s finest physical education teachers, is finishing his career at Park Center as well. Mr. Holland began as a PE teacher at Park Center in 1976. Thanks to the rule of 90, he is allowed to retire after this year. The rule of 90 is a simple math equation, when the Teachers Age + Years of Work = 90, the teacher can retire.
During the numerous years Mr. Holland has been working here he has been able to form a great bond with the students. In fact, one of his fondest memories of Park Center has been meeting new kids. Another great experience was the wrestling season of ’05-’06 when 5 of his Park Center grapplers were sent to State. His favorite classes to teach were Targets, Competitive Sports, or any class that included badminton. For those who do not know, Mr. Holland may be the world's greatest badminton player!!
Before life at Park Center, Mr. Holland attended Fridley Senior High School, where he participated on the wrestling team. He was an incredibly successful wrestler. His hard work and determination earned him the title of state champion during his years at Fridley, not to mention placing as a runner up in the Olympic trials. Mr. Holland was also a part of the Crystal Fire Department for 21 years.
Upon retiring, Mr. Holland will move up to his self-built cabin in Motley, MN during the warm weather months and will spend the winters down south, improving his golf game. With Mr. Holland gone, there will be a gym teacher to take over his classes along with a new wrestling coach. Rumor has it that Mr. Vitense will take over for Mr. Holland’s teaching position, but you never know.
From a student’s perspective, Mr. Holland will be greatly missed. As one student, Josh Violette, said, “Mr. Holland is the tightest teacher ever!” Of the many students I talked with, one common theme seemed to play through; they loved the freedom they received in his class, not to mention his enjoyable personality.
From the 30 some years he has been working here, there have been major changes in the school. From a 2% diversity rate to a 60% diversity rate, Mr. Holland has seen just about everything a public school has to offer. One bit of advice he has for the changing times is, “In order to get along, we must learn to work together.” Although shortly there will be another teacher to take Mr. Holland’s job as PE teacher, nobody will ever be able to replace him.