Mr. Bolt was a true ‘staple’ at Wesley Chapel Elementary

Wesley Chapel Elementary School held an open house on March 16 to celebrate the life of Dan Bolt, a 44-year-old behavioral specialist who died suddenly on March 12.

Mr. Bolt, as he was known at the elementary school, joined its staff in 2003 as a music teacher. He remained in that role until this school year, when he became a behavioral specialist.

Dan Bolt was a foster parent, who recently was able to adopt his two boys. He is shown here with his family: Duane Guy, in back, Juan Guy-Bolt, left, and Jose Guy-Bolt, and Dan Bolt, kneeling.
(Courtesy of Dan Bolt’s familyWesley Chapel Elementary)

Wesley Chapel Elementary Principal Stan Mykita, who joined the school’s staff about 18 months ago, said he immediately thought of Mr. Bolt when he had an opening for a behavioral specialist.

“I knew he was perfect for the job. I knew he had a passion for kids with trauma. He’s done an unbelievable job with those kids,” Mykita said.

“Whatever it took to get kids involved, he was going to get kids involved,” Mykita added.

The school set aside two hours for the celebration of life open house, to allow those who wanted to honor Bolt to come to the cafeteria, leave cards and letters, console one another and express their sympathy to Mr. Bolt’s family.

A video played on a continuous loop, featuring the many roles of Mr. Bolt.

One portion of the video featured him singing a solo, from the musical “Newsies,” during a performance at the Center for the Arts at Wesley Chapel.

Frame after frame in the video shows Mr. Bolt smiling — surrounded by children, colleagues, family and friends.

In one shot, he’s wearing a Ghostbusters costume. In another, he’s working the book fair.

Another frame featured a letter by a former student, Trunk Nguyen. In the handwritten note, she says Mr. Bolt has been part of her life since she was in second grade. She credits him for helping her to build her confidence and for encouraging her to join the Weightman Middle School band.

When Mr. Bolt died, she wrote, it “truly almost broke all of my heart, seeing a big inspiration to me leave the world.”

His colleagues describe him as someone who was always helping with something.

Staff members shared their thoughts about Dan Bolt on a poster near the entrance of the cafeteria at Wesley Chapel Elementary, where a celebration of life was held on March 16. (B.C. Manion)

People didn’t realize how much Mr. Bolt did, said Denise Tucker, a fifth-grade teacher.

“He would organize the kickball game, the fifth-grade picnic,” she said.

For the end of the year field trip, he would collect the money, purchase the tickets and order the T-shirts, she said.

He did all of those things, “so we could teach,” Tucker said. “He took care of the details. Whatever was necessary, he did.”

School counselor Jennifer Asaro said Mr. Bolt “touched so many people.”

“He was always an advocate for the kids, the teachers.

“Any function that we had here, he was part of — whether it was dances, the character parades, the Christmas musicals, chorus. He ran clubs. He just really cared about all of the kids,” she said.

He also was involved with the school’s All Pro Dad’s club and the school PTA.

Cindy Harper, the first principal at Wesley Chapel Elementary, hired him to join the elementary school’s staff. She recalls the enthusiastic recommendation he received from his former supervisor, who encouraged her to hire Mr. Bolt.

It was a decision she never regretted.

“He made the music classes fun,” said Harper, who drove from Dade City to attend the celebration of life in Wesley Chapel.

People of all ages were at the gathering to honor the teacher.

They hugged one another. They waited in line to offer condolences to the family.

Before the celebration, many wrote notes or signed posters that were on display near the entrance of the cafeteria.

Dan Bolt, in the white shirt and tie, poses in a group shot with Wesley Chapel Elementary students. (Courtesy of Dan Bolt’s family/Wesley Chapel Elementary)

A poster, created by students, offered a glimpse of how much he mattered. ‘Thank you for being the best teacher, ever,’ one student wrote. ‘We miss you,’ wrote another. ‘You were the best music teacher,’ another added.

Staff members also praised their former colleague. “I will always remember your smile and positive energy,” one wrote on a poster. “You were a great team player,” added another. “Thanks for all you did for our children, our community,” wrote a third.

Mr. Bolt was named the teacher of the year at Wesley Chapel Elementary in 2016 and went on to become one of the three district finalists for Pasco County Teacher of the Year.

In a video featuring his accomplishments, he was credited with setting up a 21st century music classroom with embedded technology at the school. He also helped institute the schoolwide Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Mathematics (STEAM) clubs, and helped to raise $100,000 for technology in the school’s classrooms.

He was known for his commitment to offering an engaging learning environment, where all children felt welcome.

He also was a generous colleague.

When Kim Mahoney was named Wesley Chapel Elementary’s teacher of the year, she said Mr. Bolt “kind of took me under his wing.”

He helped her prepare her packet for the district’s competition, and she — like Mr. Bolt — was named a district finalist, too.

“He was an amazing man. He did everything and anything around this place,” Mahoney said.

He was loyal, positive and passionate.

“He was a staple to our school,” Mahoney said.

Mr. Bolt was survived by his spouse, Duane Guy; his sons, Jose Guy-Bolt and Juan Guy-Bolt; his sisters, Sherry Bolt, Carol Sedoris and Robin Bolt; and his brothers, Robert Bolt and Thomas Bolt.

Revised March 23, 2018

Comments

  1. Bernice Pearson says:

    Dan Bolt worked for our company (Pearson Auctions) in Catlett VA all through High School. He was honorable, thorough and totally ready to do whatever asked of him. we loved Danny and were so happy that he chose to advance his education and picked a wonderful future. Danny set an example for the other helpers by always being clean, neat, on time and showed that he respected the families were were selling for and handled their “last” things with total respect. I am so sorry for this loss

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