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1 in 1700: Holden Sinnard

The smell of saltwater fills the air around Waukee senior Holden Sinnard as he lays on the beach, listening to the crashing of the waves. Sinnard fell in love with the ocean the day he visited the Pacific Ocean when he was nine years old and has adored it ever since.

“[It is] a little bit terrifying, but also really cool, because there’s so much water all around you. … It has the ability to drag you under and really hurt you, but just to listen to the waves [and how peaceful they were] really juxtaposed with the threat of the ocean.”

Although Sinnard has lived in landlocked Iowa his whole life, he plans to attend NYU; so his dream to live by the ocean will be fulfilled. Although he loves his hometown, he is glad to get out and explore other places.

“It’s probably just because of living in the suburbs and Waukee for so long, and Des Moines is a nice capital, don’t get me wrong; but it’s still a very small big city. It’s small compared to Chicago, or Kansas City even, but [I want to travel] just to spice things up.”

Sinnard will be following his love for language by studying linguistics at NYU. “Professor and translator are both options [for linguistics careers], but there’s also computational linguistics, which has to do with computers and forensic linguistics, which has to do with the language of serial killers and that sort of crazy stuff as well. So, yeah, there’s a quite a few different things you can do with it.”

Sinnard loves linguistics because of how it changes over time. Specifically, how phrases change over time as people adapt the language to meet their needs.

“A word that we use now can mean something completely different in the past. …  I was just looking up the word ‘apology,’ like, ‘to apologize.’ Right now, we mean it as ‘I’m sorry,’ or ‘I didn’t mean to do that,’ but the Greek form of it, where it comes from, it means ‘defend yourself.’ So, an apology would really be saying ‘I did nothing wrong.’”

Meanwhile, Sinnard enjoys his various AP classes at Waukee before he leaves for NYU. He has been in the Waukee school system since kindergarten and has loved every year of it. He enjoys Waukee for the nice people and ELP program. Sinnard’s favorite class was Mr. Bennet’s Physics II course.

“Mr. Bennett is a fantastic teacher, [he] goes on hilarious tangents; but [physics is also] really applicable to the world around you. You can see, ‘here’s a formula for something that happens in real life!’ It’s just like, I drop this phone on the ground, and I can tell you how fast it’s going to be [going] when it hits the ground, because physics!”

Sinnard also enjoys various other hobbies, such as music, band, and reading. He plays tenor saxophone in both concert and marching band here at Waukee. In the alternative rock band he is a part of with his friends, he plays guitar. He mainly enjoys classic literature, such as books by Hemingway. However, his favorite book is The Road by Cormac McCarthy.  

Although he is excited for college and the new opportunities in New York, Sinnard knows he will miss his hometown and all of the people here.

“I’ve really enjoyed my time at Waukee, and it’s gonna be really freaky moving out to the East Coast. I’m gonna miss probably how nice everyone is out here and just very personal. Like, people ask you how your day is or say ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ but I’m afraid it may not be like that out there in New York City.”

Random Facts:

  • His favorite movies are Arrival and Forrest Gump.

  • His favorite color is purple.

  • If he could be any animal, he would be a dolphin because they live in the water and are kind creatures.

  • His favorite food is spaghetti.

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