After 29 years at Estancia High School, veteran drama teacher Barbara Van Holt has announced that she will retire at the end of this school year.
"I don't know what we are going to do without Barbara," Principal Peggy Anatol said.
Highly regarded by those in theater, Van Holt is also known on the Estancia campus as a gifted mentor, a rare teacher who instills confidence in her students and inspires dedication.
"She is sheer magic in the classroom," Robert Francy, a past principal of Estancia, once wrote of Van Holt. "If we had a staff of Barbara Van Holts, we could change the world."
The evidence of Van Holt's success at Estancia is displayed in cases outside the school's theater.
Some awards honor the general excellence of the Estancia drama program; others acknowledge the achievements of dozens of performers trained by Van Holt.
Van Holt promises that her retirement does not mean she will leave the theater completely.
"I have a lot of ex-students who are teaching drama and a lot who are actors," she said, "and they have all assured me there will be plenty for me to do."