In 2014, Detroit School of the Arts was at risk of losing its Robotics Team due to its coach retiring. To continue the team needed someone to fill in as coach, a Detroit Public Schools employee was the team’s only option. Mr. Holden, the former robotics team coach himself, wanted Detroit School of Arts to maintain their team. He asked all the math and science teachers if they would be willing to coach the team. After being turned down Dr. Reynolds, Detroit School of Arts suggested Lemmons. Lemmons later agreed to be the coach and Holden would assist her. Thus began the Detroit School of Arts new coaching team, “HoldenLemmons.”
Knowing that robotics is expensive and that Detroit School of Arts had little to no funds to support robotics, Holden started selling drinks to help raise what was needed, with the assistance of Lemmons. They started little, selling only drinks in a small space. However, Holden added more items including chips, fruit snacks, etc, using a larger space to accommodate everything. The funds raised from selling drinks and snacks has and continues to buy robotics supplies and tools.
Holden’s way of recruiting students for the D-Tech family was in the morning while greeting students and checking their bookbags. His technique of recruitment is checking them out to see if they are robotics material. Once Holden is convinced that they have what it takes, he talks to them about potentially joining the robotics family. Holden never took “No” for an answer. When students give him excuses about their performances or their major, he reminds them of a instrumental student, also the captain of the robotics team, awarded the Gates Millennium Scholarship. He tells them of other students who were admitted to colleges and universities and received scholarships because of their involvement with robotics. When students say they don’t know anything about robotics, Mr. Holden tells them he will teach them.
Holden is extremely dedicated to the robotics team, empowering and inspiring youth, teaching them the skills they need to build, program, and drive the robots. Mr. Holden believes that students can be successful in robotics. Whether the student drilled holes, wired the board, installed the program, each student experienced success in the building and operating of the robot.
Holden has inspired, empowered, and educated the DSA robotics family. He is a change agent and he helps students become change agents too. Changing the students’ mindset from “I can’t” to “I can.” By changing their mindset, students change their attitudes and their behaviors. I can speak for the entire D-Techs family when we say that we are honored and grateful to have Holden as our mentor because he is truly one of a kind.