Fergus’ Holicky pushes students ‘outside the box’ [UPDATED]Published 11:32am Wednesday, October 9, 2013 Updated 11:32am Wednesday, October 9, 2013
During his nearly four-decade career as a teacher, Jerome Holicky has received many honors from both his peers and his students. Recognition from the latter, however, will always have a special place in his heart.
“To me, it has even more meaning because you’re helping them get the start in their life and they’ve recognized that,” Holicky said. “That shows an awful lot of maturity.”
Holicky, a math and science teacher at Kennedy Secondary School, has received two more awards from the University of Minnesota to add to his distinguished career. He is one of six teachers across the state to receive an Outstanding Teacher Award and he will also receive the lone Sarah L. Tilman Memorial Science Teacher Award given out this year.
The awards will be presented to Holicky at an Oct. 24 dinner ceremony on the university campus. He will also receive a $500 prize, which he can use for any educational purpose.
Keianna Vogel, a former student at KSS who graduated in June, nominated Holicky for the awards. Now a freshman at the university studying genetics of biology and development, Vogel credits much of her transformation during her high school years to Holicky.
“Going into high school science was my least favorite subject and coming out it was my favorite,” Vogel said. “He was able to turn that around for me.”
For Holicky, this is the greatest praise he can earn as a teacher. Throughout his years, he has had many former students thank him for pushing them to work harder and achieve more than perhaps they believed they could.
That is definitely the case for Vogel. She sat in the back of the classroom on her first day of ninth grade in Holicky’s class, and Holicky remembers her being very shy in the early days. But by being available to students like Vogel after school and not allowing them to coast through his classes, Holicky has been able to be a positive influence.
“He taught me that I can solve any problems in academics or in real life,” Vogel said.
As a student, Holicky said Vogel was unafraid to ask questions and has always been great at dealing and working with other people. He was always impressed with her drive and willingness to work hard to reach her next goal.
Holicky and Vogel will have the chance to catch up at the Oct. 24 dinner and both are looking forward to it. Overall, Holicky is honored and humbled to be recognized for his work in the classroom.
“I know there’s a lot of people out there, a lot of teachers out there, that do tremendous work,” Holicky said. “I have been very fortunate in terms of peers and students.”