Mr. Holmes, Our Rock


Mariam Azeez B, Staff Writer

On Sunday, June 4th, Danbury High School was shaken to its core with thoughts of grief, confusion, and general dismay. Mr. Holmes, a coach and Social Studies teacher at DHS for over thirty years, sadly passed away due to health complications. While some students may have never gotten the chance to have Mr. Holmes as a teacher, those who did know him say he was the most influential teacher they had ever come across.




Teachers and students alike mourned the loss of Danbury High School’s ‘rock.’ Mr. Williams, a Social Studies teacher who worked with Mr. Holmes as the second AP US History teacher, had known Mr. Holmes since he was 5 years old at baseball camp – and even had him as a sophomore at Danbury High School. One thing Mr. Williams distinguished as a significant quality of Mr. Holmes was that, no matter who he came into contact with, he wanted them to get better. He would never berate someone for not knowing something, and he always wanted to talk. He always wanted to hear positive things about people and would spend hours on end after school grading his students’ work so that he could provide the best possible feedback. To Mr. Holmes, it was never about winning or losing, but about growth. As his students grew, he continued to support them. When asked where Mr. Holmes was, many students could find him within the crowds of their plays, concerts, games, and any events students participated in. His support for students was tremendous, and his work continues to impact students and staff even beyond our public school grounds.

Mr. Holmes, beloved teacher and coach at Danbury High School

Mr. Holmes was the kind of man who would foster a sense of community wherever he went. Taking “It takes a village” quite literally, Mr. Holmes would often extend a warm welcome to new teachers, even amid the challenges of quarantine during COVID. He also encouraged teachers to give their best while reminding them to prioritize their own health.

Teachers like Ms. Passarelli, a former track coach at DHS, would frequently arrive at school to find him in his room, already deeply immersed in schoolwork and preparing for his students. Most people who had the pleasure of meeting Mr. Holmes recall his positive disposition and playful sense of humor. Ms. Passarelli fondly reminisced about his vibrant spirit, sharing, ‘When I walked past his room in the morning, I would always shout ‘Morning, Coach!’ and he would respond with ‘Morning, Coach!’

Mr. Holmes worked diligently, but he was also a human being – much like everyone else, he had his own struggles, hopes, dreams, and hobbies. Ms. Amann, a teacher who had known Mr. Holmes for a long time, mentioned that his favorite pastime was simply ‘taking a drive, often heading toward the shore and watching the sunset.’

Mr. Holmes’ power of volition built a village—a village of people who will remember his energy and passion forever. For those who never got to know Mr. Holmes, the ones who did have said this: Mr. Holmes always wanted people to dive deep. Whether it’s giving it your all, immersing yourself in new things, or finding the root of things so that you can genuinely learn—dive deep. These things will make you happy. Mr. Holmes held all children and teachers he knew in his heart, so we will continue to keep him in ours. Rest in Peace, Mr. Holmes.