The robots are coming, and to help man and machine live in harmony with one another, San Bernardino City Unified School District alumnus Garner Holt and his San Bernardino-based Garner Holt Productions has partnered with the district through Generation GO to introduce students to the world of animatronics, through his ‘Education through Imagination’ program.

Having graduated early from Pacific High School in 1977, Holt founded Garner Holt Productions soon after. The company has grown to be a leading manufacturer of animatronic robots for the entertainment industry. These include examples used at Disneyland and many Chuck E. Cheese’s locations.

SBCUSD schools having served as Holt’s career launchpad, he’s now returning the favor for the district.

At their regularly-scheduled school board meeting at Indian Springs High School on Tuesday, April 9, Holt told the board his inspiration to help students came from his teachers in San Bernardino.

“The wonderful San Bernardino educators… were able to see the things that I was trying to do, and gave me a little leeway to kind of do some of my projects in place of some of the generic projects they were doing.”

For Holt, having attended the Indian Springs campus when it was Curtis Middle School, it was sort of a coming home again.

“It was 100 feet from this spot, the buildings behind me were where I went to junior high school,” Holt said.

As the district works to connect students to careers, SBCUSD Superintendent Dale Marsden is excited to have Holt’s help.

“Garner Holt is truly making hope happen for the children in our community,” Marsden said. “He is an important part of our school district’s mission to educate students from cradle to career. And, as a native son of this city, Garner Holt is key to the story of educational, economic and community revival in San Bernardino.”

Generation GO is a program of the San Bernardino County Workforce Development Board, in conjunction with school districts countywide. The program partners with area employers to provide career training and internship opportunities to students.

The district has over 50 Career Technical Education programs on offer across its campuses.

Director of Secondary Education & Workforce Development for Garner Holt Productions, Bill Tynan describes Holt’s commitment to the program like so: “More than anything else, Garner hopes GHP’s involvement with Gen Go will help students find a passion, purpose and motivation to follow their dreams. Whether it is pursuing a college education or going right into the workforce, Garner hopes students leave this internship with a stronger understanding of what it will take for them to reach their goals and find the quality of life they are looking for.”

On Holt’s behalf, Tynan says to the community, “He would say his goal is to give kids experiences that create the same kind of spark of interest and curiosity that he had when he visited Disneyland for the first time and decided his destiny was to build animatronics. He would want them to know the value that real-world, hands-on work experiences have, and how beneficial and formative these can be for helping young people find their way in a world that is increasingly dependent on the ability to work collaboratively, solve problems that arise, use good judgment, and conduct oneself professionally in all situations.”

Holt won the district’s Education Medal of Honor in 2014.

To find out how your student can get involved, visit sbcusd.com.

For more information about Garner Holt Productions, visit garnerholt.com

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