Farewell to Mr. Willden


Mia Paulson, Staff Writer/Editor

Mr. Willden has been an influential teacher in many students’ lives here at Holy Family. Not only has he taught Elements of Composition, Speech, Honors Competitive Speech and Debate, American Literature, Honors British Literature, and AP Seminar here at Holy Family, but he also has gone out of his way to teach students lifelong lessons. With by far the best “Happy Birthday” ritual in the school, his humor is contagious. His popularity around the school is no surprise, and we will never forget the mark he left on this school.

Not that he has any favorites, but… and I quote… “AP Seminar was my favorite class to teach. I grew a real fondness for the current juniors, and will miss teaching them. They are thoughtful, hardworking, and expressive students. I will miss them more than they’ll know,” Mr. Willden commented. (It’s okay all you non-juniors out there. I’m sure he still liked you too. No need to be upset!)

Willden never really pictured himself as a high school teacher. Lucky for us, everything lined up for this unlikely career path. “When I started at HF, I didn’t know if I wanted to be a high school teacher. I had applied and was accepted into several PhD programs, but needed a break from school. I had been subbing at HF, and then applied for a vacancy in the English Department. What I thought was a break in my academic pursuits, turned into a five year stint, and a transformation in my career objectives. I love working with hardworking students and helping them discover themselves and the world around us.”

Girls Varsity Basketball - Kent Denver High School - Englewood, Colorado - Basketball - HudlFor next year, Mr. Willden has decided to move on from Holy Family and take the amazing opportunity to be the new Director of Speech at Kent Denver School in Englewood. He will also be teaching a course on history and research writing in the Social Studies Department. “This new position is an opportunity to learn how to teach new subjects, and gives me the affordance to grow a speech program. As an educator, I feel that I work best when I’m coaching and mentoring. I will still serve as the Vice President of the Holy Family alumni association and look forward to helping get alumni more involved at HF.” Willden’s talents and wisdom will be extended to Kent’s lucky program. They better be ready for some sass and well-coordinated ties!

This new step to expand his career and run his own program may only be the beginning. Willden has high hopes for a future in expanding the speech program at Kent, but also in expanding his own education, possibly going back to school to get a PhD in communication. Even though it might be far into the future, it is still in his current conquering the academic world plan.

He will definitely be missed by every student that has had the blessing of having him as a teacher. No worries to all the students here at Holy Family, because he will “definitely be around and hope to visit often!”

Some final words given to us from such a prominent influence at Holy Family include: “Read. Write. Speak. Listen. Be a heart for the disenfranchised. Practice kindness and empathy. Holy family students have the potential to be the hearts and hands of Jesus; those that will speak out against injustice and fight for the world to be a better place. To love all and forgive often. My advice is to stand for justice, equality, and truth.”

Mr. Willden, we all thank you so much for how much you have taught us. We thank you for the positive influence you have made on our lives. We thank you for your entertaining classes and mood swings. We thank you for always being there for each and every one of us. We all love and will miss you!