Graduating Gerstell Academy senior Antonio Holland has a lot of accomplishments under his belt — great grades, leadership positions and scholarships. But according to those who know him, he is driven by something more.
“Grades matter to him, but he also studies and learns out of a passion for learning and a genuine intellectual curiosity,” said Dr. David Greenspoon, Holland’s history teacher. “Character matters to Antonio. It really matters to be a good, honest, ethical person.”
Greenspoon said this was no more apparent than in Holland’s leadership roles, of which there were many, including serving as president of Gerstell’s Student Government Association.
“In reality, on a day-to-day basis, he is extraordinarily humble about his accomplishments as president,” Greenspoon said. “He really does not grab the spotlight unnecessarily. He’s really good at inspiring other people to do their best.”
But with graduation on Friday morning, Holland did have an opportunity to discuss the things he’s been most proud of during his time at Gerstell.
“I think the biggest thing for me was trying to plan the homecoming dance this year,” he said, noting that the school moved what had been a winter event into the fall to line up with other schools. “I think we had about six weeks total to plan it. That was an interesting challenge just to get everything in order but I was really glad how it turned out. We had the largest homecoming ever.”
This past year, Holland was also the president of the Social Studies Honors Society at Gerstell, and was a member of many others.
When it comes to college and career, Holland said he has always wanted to serve in the U.S. military, and has been awarded a four-year Army ROTC scholarship.
“Since seventh grade I wanted to go to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point,” Holland said. He had what he considered a competitive application, had received two congressional nominations, but in April got the bad news — he would not be considered recovered in time from a recent hand surgery due to a sports injury and would be medically disqualified for the 2019-2020 school year.