Often classroom teachers become advocates for social issues that extend far beyond their classroom. Such is the case with teacher Bill Holden, an educator who has worked tirelessly to increase awareness about the problem of juvenile diabetes.
Bill was born in 1948 in Elgin, Illinois. He earned his degree from Southern Illinois University in 1970. Bill accepted his first position as a teacher in 1973, but soon became interested in working with Native American students. After teaching many years in Illinois, he transferred to Camp Verde, Arizona. At Camp Verde, Bill became aware of the alarming rate of diabetes among his Native American students. Bill retired after 32 years in the classroom, but he was not done dedicating his energy to benefit his students. He decided to focus his vast energy on helping to find a cure for juvenile diabetes.
In 2005, Bill literally walked from Arizona to Chicago, a distance of 2,100 miles, with the goal of raising $250,000 in donations for the American Diabetes Association to fund research to find a cure for juvenile diabetes. Bill started his walk on January 11, 2005, walking through the states of Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, and Illinois. Along the way he battled arthritis in both knees, fatigue, sunburn, windburn, and stifling heat, and once he was nearly hit by a car. It took the dedicated teacher six months to complete the walk, but the effort garnered him national attention.
Bill Holden is certainly a true chalkboard champion.