Q&A: Mr. Ralph Holden, Social Studies


Rachael Peterson (12) looks at a mirror to see the papillae on her painted tongue as Mr. Ralph Holden, social studies, shines a light. Students in Mr. Ralph Holden’s, Social Studies, AP psychology class had a “Sensation Day” to get a further understanding on the unit they were reviewing.

Sara Lisac, Author

Q: What classes do you teach?

A: “I teach psychology and AP psychology.”

Q: What college did you attend?

A: “I went to Indiana University for my undergrad. I got a Bachelor of Arts and Sciences in Criminal Justice — that’s my degree. Then I went to Valparaiso University to finish up a teaching license program.”

Q: How long have you been teaching at Lake Central?

A: “I’ve been teaching [at Lake Central] since 1997. I got hired coming back from spring break in 1991 to work at the high school for the rest of the year. The following year, I was at the high school part of the day [and] Kahler Middle School the other half for the first month of school. They needed me at Kahler more, so I was there for five years after that. I’ve been in the corporation since Spring break in ‘91.”

Q: Did you always want to be a teacher?

A: “No, I wanted to be a Podiatrist, a foot doctor. It just didn’t pan out. I found out after my freshman year first semester that I needed to like science a lot more than I did, so I switched.”

Q: Why did you choose to teach?

A: “My degree is in criminal justice, so I was a detention officer at Lake County Juvenile Center for about nine months. I became a juvenile probation officer at Porter County for two years, and a lot of the kids on my case load I’d see it in school. I would go to the school, and I would see them. I got comfortable being around in school, and I met my wife. She was a teacher at Merrillville High School. She taught special [education], and most of my kids were in special [education] case loads. So, my first job when I got hired for Lake Central was teaching special [education]. I taught emotionally handicapped students for five years.”

Q: What is your favorite part about teaching?

A: “Even though I have an idea of what I want to cover in a day, anything can be brought up in class that can be talked about. Even though it’s the same, it’s always different, and I like that. I like the variety about it, and I like the flexibility of things. I can present things this way or that way, and I have flexibility with it.”

Q: What is your most valuable memory while teaching at Lake Central?

A: “I don’t think it is one thing in particular, but I will get emails every once in a while from parents or former students letting me know where they’re at and how they’re doing. It always starts off like ‘I’m so glad I was in your class.’ I love that about this job. I love it. It’s not the money. We don’t do it for the money. That’s for sure.”