Oil Technology building will be named in recognition of their contributions to the program

Taft Union High School is saying thank you in a big way to the two biggest supporters of the school's acclaimed Oil Technology Academy.

The school's Oil Technology Building is being named in honor of Fred and Barbara Holmes for their strong support of the academy.

The Taft Union High School Board of trustees voted to approve a request on Aug. 24, and the announcement was made Monday night at the annual Oil Academy Barbecue, which the Holmes help host each year

"If you are familiar with the Oil Technology Program, then you should immediately know that they have spent so much time and effort helping build and support such an amazing program," former Oil Technology Academy student Olivia Ortlieb also wrote a letter of support. "Without these two, the program would be nowhere near what it is today."

"lf any of you are lucky enough to know Fred and Barbara personally, you know that they are such kind hearted people who will do anything to help serve others. They have shown many Oil Tech classes, teachers, and others an extraordinary work ethic, and they have inspired many students to work towards their goals because you can start somewhere with next to nothing and blossom into a thriving business through hard work and dedication."

Another letter supporting the honor came from Mike Goodwin, currently a teacher in the Academy.

"During the past 15 years, Fred has been the liaison between the Academy and the petroleum industry. His reputation within the industry is second to none and he has used his presence to help grow the academy," Goodwin wrote. "He is constantly working with people from all aspects of the industry to find ways to better both our program and the students. A great example is Fred's involvement in bringing a student section of the American Association of Drilling Engineers to our campus. Currently, we are the only high school chapter in the county. This professional association has greatly increased our student's interaction with successful people within the petroleum industry.

"When you think of Fred and Barbara, the words honest, dedication, compassionate, generous, and integrity come to mind," Goodwin continued. The Holmes family is truly a role model our students can look up to. I cannot think of a family more deserving to be honored than the Holmes family. The academy and our students greatly benefit from their actions."

Former Oil Technology Academy student Olivia Ortleib also wrote a letter of support.

Rick Woodson, the founding director of the Oil Technology Academy, contacted Holmes soon after starting the academy.

"Once on board, it become very clear that their support would be in many forms, not the least of which was a source of further contacts when it came time to update curriculum, create field trips, guest speakers, mentors, scholarship sources, etc," wrote Woodson. "As long as we worked together for the benefit of our students, their support was immeasurable. I can't tell you how many times I would email/text Fred for some information regarding an industry subject, with his response always being 'Let me see what I can do'. Within a couple of hours, I would receive anywhere from a couple of dozen to a hundred emails/texts from all over the U.S., and internationally."