Mrs. Holland, who began her teaching career here in 2009, stepped down as Raiderettes coach after ten years of leading the ladies. Principal Watkins had asked Coach Holland to start the dance team back up after years of not having one. Since she had always had a passion for dance — which carried over into her own junior high days through college at Arkansas Tech, Coach Holland eagerly said yes.
“The first couple years were tough, but I learned so much and formed amazing relationships with some of my best girls!” Coach Holland said.
The hardest lesson Coach Holland learned was the need to maintain firm and consistent boundaries.
“Sometimes when we spent so much time together, we got too close, and the girls forgot that I was still their coach and not their friend,” Coach Holland said.
Coach Holland’s most memorable moment came in 2018 when she told her girls she was pregnant.
“They had no idea and I totally shocked them!” Coach Holland said. “Other teachers in the building thought something bad had happened once they heard all the screaming and crying. I was looking forward to telling my Kimmons family and Raiderettes almost as much as I was my actual family. The team that dealt with me pregnant did all they could to support me as a new mom. They were so patient, forgiving, and understanding when my priorities changed from dance to my new baby. I don’t think I could’ve survived that year if it hadn’t been for some of those girls. They will always hold a special place in my heart for this.”
For a team of dancers, it can be a very heartbreaking time when they hear their dance coach is resigning, but these Raiderettes pulled all the positive memories together and made the best of their circumstances.
Current Raiderette Arian Hawkins, 9th, valued how Coach Holland motivated her more than she should have by always pushing her to reach her full potential.
“Now I know I can push past my limits,” Arian said.
What Crystal Jimenez, 8th, remembered most about this season was when about 85% of the team quit.
“I stayed and made a good choice by staying,” Crystal said. “Now I am working on perfecting my technique and fixing bad habits. We should be thankful to have had Coach Holland. She really inspired me to be hard working and push myself. I want to let her know that me and the remaining team appreciated her through all the unnecessary drama and commotion.”
Coach Holland taught Celeste Diaz, 9th, that confidence is key.
“Confidence will always overshine our small mistakes,” Celeste said.
Aryana Harper, 9th, felt that Coach Holland inspired her to keep dancing.
“That showed that she cared about the team,” Aryana said.
Jadan Thompson, 8th, appreciated how Coach Holland motivated her.
“She pushed me to be the best I could be, which means a lot,” Jadan said. “Something I will remember for the rest of my life from the dance team is where we would all bond and get along.”
In addition to thinking about how Coach Holland inspired them, the Raiderettes reflected on their most memorable moments of this season.
Getting to know the team members stood out for Arian.
“We’ve made a ton of great memories, and we always end up laughing,” Arian said.
Yaneyzi Santiago, 9th, enjoyed Tuesday after-school practices.
“I had so much fun because we made the dance up,” Yaneyzi said. “I also appreciate how Coach Holland inspired me to try out for Northside’s N’Steppers.”
Celeste’s most memorable moment wasn’t a moment.
“It was feeling the feeling of relief, excitement, and confidence after performing,” Celeste said.
Spending time with the team and Coach Holland was what Magdalena Espinoza, 9th, remembered most.
“The girls were very kind, fun, and inspiring to others,” Magdalena said. “Also, Coach Holland really motivated me by giving me inspirational talks.”
For the freshmen, this season had a bigger meaning since 2020-21 marks the final year for 9th graders to dance for Kimmons.
For Arian, being one of the last freshmen Raiderettes was an honor because not many people understand the hard work and dedication it takes to make history.
“I’m glad I got to be a part of the final dance team Coach Holland guided,” Arian said.
Celeste appreciated being guided by “the very talented” Coach Holland.
“I’ll also miss goofing around with the girls,” Celeste said.
Jadan believed that Mrs. Holland is the best coach anybody could ever ask for.
“I can’t believe that we are the last team she would ever coach,” Jaden said.
Coach Holland will miss most all the relationships she has formed with her girls over the past ten years.
“Ever since 2009, I’ve had the opportunity to watch my girls grow from young 8th and 9th graders into successful young women,” Coach Holland said. “Not only did they go on to become members of Northside’s N’Steppers or college dance team members, but also high school and college graduates with successful careers. They have also become amazing mothers and women who are going out into the world making an impact on younger generations with their passion for dance and for life, which I hope I had once small chance to help them grow. I love and trust these girls so much that I’ve even let them watch my little boy, and that’s big for me! These girls will forever be a part of my life, whether they like it or not.”
As for life after coaching, Mrs. Holland looks forward to not having to schedule her life around football and basketball games, summer practices, camp, or any other event that takes time away from her family.
“I’ve loved having the opportunity to spend time with my girls over the years, and I know these ladies sure helped me grow as a teacher and coach, and even prepared me for becoming a mom,” Coach Holland said. “They helped me just be a better person in general. If you were ever one of my girls, just know how proud I am to have been your coach. Thank you to all the mentors along the way as well. Dance is what?! DANCE IS LIFE!”