Managing editor Jess Cagle discusses the importance of teachers


Over the weekend a high school teacher of mine, Robert Holladay, sent me an email. I hadn’t spoken to him in a few years, but he’d been reading EW ”religiously,” he wrote, and gave me a good-natured rap on the knuckles. ”Boy! Do I have something to say about your last issue!” He said he didn’t like seeing Django Unchained on the cover (Mr. Holladay, who’s partial to vintage Hollywood fare like Raintree County and Auntie Mame, is apparently not a Tarantino fan), and he expressed dismay over Lisa Schwarzbaum’s less-than-enthusiastic review of Les Misérables (Mr. Holladay is also partial to musicals). I loved hearing from him. Mr. Holladay taught British lit and made Chaucer and Shakespeare thrilling to even the surliest teens in Abilene, Tex., but his dedication didn’t stop when the bell rang. He also sponsored student trips to New York and Europe. As head of the film society, he turned us on to the greatest movie critics and sacrificed his Saturday nights to show us classics at his house, where he had several thousand (yes, thousand) movies on VHS. It’s been three decades since I sat in his classroom, and I’m still traveling the path he put me on. A lot of us have been lucky enough to have a Mr. Holladay in our lives, and this is a good time to reach out and thank those special, selfless teachers who have meant so much to us. It’s one small way to honor the educators who sacrificed everything in Newtown, Conn., and the 20 children who were robbed of the chance to realize their potential. We’re living in a sad and anxious time for the schools we trust with our nation’s future, so let’s take a moment to salute the teachers who helped shape our own. Thank you, Mr. Holladay, for living up to your name, and for opening doors your students never dreamed existed.

Django Unchained

  • Movie
  • R
  • 165 minutes
  • Quentin Tarantino