Alli Holst, a new personal counselor at the Upper School, is no stranger to Darlington. She served as an interim counselor at the start of the 2016-17 school year and is the wife of Assistant Director of Boarding Admission Nathan Holst.
“Alli did an outstanding job last fall working with our students and faculty while our counselor was on maternity leave,” said Matt Peer, Upper School director. “She has picked up right where she left off and is already making a tremendous impact on our community.”
Holst holds an M.A. in Drama Therapy from New York University and a Master of Social Work from Stony Brook University. She is also currently employed as a part-time, in-house therapist at the Sexual Assault Center of Northwest Georgia.
With eight years of experience in counseling and social work, Holst has worked with children of all ages.
“I discovered my passion for counseling just over a decade ago while working alongside a drama therapist at the West Haven VA in Connecticut,” said Holst. “During that time, I was also fortunate enough to do a great deal of traveling and found myself working within peace and reconciliation centers throughout South Africa and Northern Ireland. I loved learning about people's lives and how events have the ability to shape who we are.”
Holst’s philosophy as a counselor is one that resonates with the Upper School students at Darlington.
“My philosophy for counseling is ‘this too shall pass,’ and last year’s advisees still say the words to me when I see them in the hall,” said Holst. “A high school is an ever-changing microcosm, and the feelings we may experience one day will inevitably evolve over time. I love the attention Darlington pays to social emotional learning, and I am always taken back by our students' level of self awareness, integrity, and compassion. It is unlike any place I have experienced before.”
With roots in drama therapy, Holst has also found an outlet for theatrical pursuits through a local organization.
“I have been involved with the Rome Shakespeare Festival since the beginning of 2017,” said Holst. “This past summer, I was stage manager and understudy for ‘Twelfth Night’ and ‘Romeo and Juliet.’ This season, I am honored to be playing Lady Macbeth. So, if I am not counseling on campus or at the Sexual Assault Center, I am usually in rehearsal.”
Even before relocating to Rome, Holst felt a strong connection to Darlington.
“This community has seen us through our long distance relationship as boyfriend and girlfriend living in Georgia and New York, the chaotic days of planning a wedding (also long distance), and now as our home and shared place of employment as husband and wife,” Holst said. “We knew from the moment we drove onto campus the very first time that we were meant to have a future here.”