Liz Holtan, a 2003 Port Washington High School graduate, became a member of the school's hall-of-fame list on Friday as staff recognized her "desire and willingess" to follow her dreams and "make it happen," according to Principal Eric Burke.
Holtan holds a bachelor's degree in vocal performance and acting from the University of Wisconsin, according to the bio on her website. She moved to New York to pursue her acting career, landing roles on broadway, television and films — including a part in the movie, "Man on a Ledge," an appearance on "Ugly Betty," and other TV shows and most recently starred in a pilot of a possible CBS show, "Friend Me." (Read about more of Holtan's role on her website.)
Holtan spoke to a gym full of Port high students during a ceremony to celebrate her addition to the hall of fame.
"I think I always kind of knew I wanted to go into performing — I just didn't know how I wanted to make that happen," Holtan said. "Nobody gave me a magic file saying what to do — there are no magic files in life. ... I think there's a moment in everyone's life where you're like, 'I just don't know what the next step is.'
"But that's OK," she said. "There will always be people that make you feel not good enough — and it really takes courage to just be yourself sometimes."
Being herself is exactly what lead Holtan to finally snag her first acting job in New York, "a job that landed me an agent and has gotten me many jobs since," she said.
Burke as well as Lincoln Elementary School music teacher Karen Oftedahl recalled memories of Holtan from her school-age years, reflecting on ways she has always been a good role model.
"The importance of what this means for and for us to be here — I just can't explain in words," Burke said. "We are all very proud of you."
"Liz has so much talent — she's amazing," Oftedahl said, reflecting on her skills as an actress, dancer and singer. "She's what they call a triple threat. ... Liz is truly the best role model, and if you follow her lead you, too, can be successful."
It took Holtan three years of hard work before landing the role as the star in this pilot episode of "Friend Me." The show is about a group of "twenty-something best friends, Evan and Rob, who move to Los Angeles from their hometown of Bloomington, Indiana to start new lives working at Groupon," according to a broadway.com article.
Though CBS still has to decide whether to air this pilot — meaning its possible no one will ever see it — Holtan still has confidence for success in her future.
"I'm going to go back to New York newly energized by the insightment in this roomm," she said.