Alum Josh Holm gave the keynote address during the Distinguished Warrior banquet Sunday, May 7

Josh Holm, Los Angeles fashion designer and 2012 McHenry Community High School graduate, told the 2023 Distinguished Warriors at his alma mater to make sure to enjoy the journey to success.

Holm, founder of Castles and Queens, shared several messages about his journey in entrepreneurship with the 175 Distinguished Warriors in the Class of 2023 during the 9th annual Distinguished Warrior banquet Sunday (May 7) at the Holiday Inn at Crystal Lake.

The annual banquet, sponsored by McHenry-area new car dealerships, recognizes students who meet a variety of criteria in academics, career-training and community service.

Holm, who was born overseas and lived in South Korea before coming to McHenry at about 6 years old, said many times people may focus on the end result rather than enjoying the journey. 

“We’re all gifted and we’re all talented. The journey is the occasion.” he told the audience of Distinguished Warriors and families.

After graduating from the former McHenry West, he moved to the West Coast and attended Azusa Pacific University to study journalism and zoology. After graduating, he decided he wanted to reconnect with family in South Korea. Being overseas, he decided to explore photography and discovered a love for fashion while taking photos at a fashion show.

Back in Los Angeles, opened his own design company when COVID-19 came to the U.S. So he started out making gowns and masks for health care workers in the summer of 2020. 

“Our first start as a brand was creating PPE for the city of Los Angeles,” Holm said. Then, his company transitioned to becoming a full-time fashion brand.

Holm said he was honored to come back to McHenry to speak to soon-to-be graduates. This is the first time he’s been back since he graduated in 2012.

“My time in McHenry was a very positive time for me,” he said.

While in town for the Distinguished Warrior banquet, Holm met with broadcast journalism students who interviewed him for their final broadcast project, as well as other students at both campuses.

The Distinguished Warrior program recognizes students who meet certain criteria for academics and career readiness. Criteria includes SAT and ACT scores above a certain level, completion of a career pathway capstone course and 24 hours of community service. Distinguished Warrior Scholars are Distinguished Warrior students who maintain a higher grade point average and score 1400 or higher on the SAT.

The banquet is sponsored by Buss Ford Lincoln, Sunnyside Chrysler/Jeep/Dodge/Ram and Castle AutoPlex. The dealerships also sponsor a drawing for two $1,000 scholarships at the event.

To learn more about the Distinguished Warrior program, visit the District 156 website.