|Cathryn Watson Potter
Helen Holt or I should say "Miss Holt" was the librarian at Lincoln High School in Des Moines when I attended there. Since I enjoyed reading I volunteered for the Library Staff and became--along with a number of my good friends--a library helper. Miss Holt was interested in and cared about everyone on the Library Staff. She spent a lot of time talking with us as we learned from her and worked with her. Sometime in my junior year she realized I wasn't planning on going to college ... no one in my family had ever gone to college. She was the first one who made me even think about college and consider that I could go. She gave me a summer reading list that year of twenty books that would help prepare me for college and she was right about all of them.
Her interest and persistent encouragement-including writing references for scholarships was the real reason I came to college. I felt maybe I could earn enough money to have one year of that experience. After I got to Iowa State I realized I was going to stay for four years that somehow I would manage and I never looked back. I stayed in touch with Miss Holt for a few years after I graduated from Iowa State but have had no contact with her for at least twenty-five years. I often tell people about her and about the critical influence she was on my life. I am sure she has no idea that she mattered so much to me. By honoring her here I hope to let her know this. Beyond the life changing experience of a college education Miss Holt's influence has continued to make a difference for me. After being out of the work force for nineteen years I re-entered due to a late-in-life divorce. I was able in my late forties to begin a successful career--because I had that college degree. Without it my chances to support myself and maintain my quality of life would have been very slim. Helen Holt went far beyond the usual role of a high school librarian and her caring had a great impact on my life. I will be eternally grateful.
E. Mae Watson
Brick also located at: H13