This summer, Waterford High School finished the last chapter of the Arnold Holm story, , with the release of a 23-minute documentary about the American hero.
Arnold Holm, Jr., a Waterford High School graduate, died in battle in Vietnam in 1972, at the age of 28. to be discovered and be brought home, with a ceremony held for the Army helicopter pilot and in 2011.
Waterford High School was instrumental in finding Holm’s long-lost body, lobbying the federal government and actually helping with the search itself. The efforts were led by civics teacher Brett Arnold and Principal Donald Macrino, who kept students involved with the Holm story year after year after year.
The whole story is told with a new documentary produced by Waterford High School students, overseen by who else, Macrino and Arnold. The film, which was released in June, tells the story of Holm and how Waterford High School students became involved, and then shows clips from the 2011 ceremony at Ocean Beach and Holm’s burial at Arlington Cemetery.
Perhaps the most interesting part of the documentary is the beginning, with people who knew Holm giving testimonials about what they remember about the man. It leads off with Holm’s daughter, Jennifer Holm, who now has a daughter of her own.
Jennifer Holm was four-years-old when Arnold Holm died, and has few memories of her father. The only one that sticks out is of her father “breaking the rules” and eating ice cream one Saturday morning, and the unusual way he ate.
“I remember this particularly because I thought it was interesting at the time the way he ate the ice cream,” she said. “He would take a spoon full of it, put it in his mouth, but then the spoon wouldn’t come out empty as you would expect it. Some of it would come out on the spoon, it was like he would slowly take a layer off at a time.”
“I don’t know why I remember that except I think of each time I eat ice cream today.”
The film also shows the speeches of longtime friend Bill Cavalieri and another by Army Col. John “Jack” Kennedy, who served with Holm in Vietnam. It ends with the 21-gun salute for Holm at Arlington Cemetery.
The film was produced by a bevy of students earning Learning Through Service hours. It was funded by the Waterford Education Foundation, the State Farm Companies Foundation’s Schools of Success grant administered by the Education Commission of the States and the Carl D. Perkins Career and Technical Education Act of 2006 grant.