Holton: perfect All-State record for HS speech career

Friday, March 23, 2012

Through his four years of high school, participating in speech has been important to Jaden Holton.

He has participated in both large group and individual speech. In those four years he has participated in eight entries. All eight received top ratings at district contests, state contests and all eight made it to the All-State Festival - where the best in each category throughout the entire state are showcased.

He has enjoyed his time in speech and will forever treasure the guidance he received from speech coach Brad Nesbitt.

"He is a great coach and the greatest instructor I've ever had. He sets us all up for success."

But there is also hard work involved to achieve that success - speech students know what is expected of them and become dedicated to their coach, team members and themselves.

"He never put us in a situation that he didn't think we could handle. We just needed that push."

Why did Holten join speech his freshman year?

It was a talk that Coach Nesbitt presented to the entire class.

"You're not going to shoot a basketball all your life or throw a football all your life. Communicating," he said, "is one of the biggest things in your life. You're going to need to communicate to your employers, your employees all your life to be successful."

That speech, said Holton, "caught me right from the beginning." (as it has caught a great number of students - half or more of the high school students participate each year in speech.)

He looks back at his freshman year and how nervous he was to talk in front of crowds. Now, after four years of speech, he said, "I could get up in front of thousands of people and talk. I have gained confidence in myself."

Holton's facial expressions during his entries in choral reading, reader's theatre, mime, improv and storytelling are what put him over the top.

"Jaden is one of those speech students that has the ability to add his unique talents to any category he takes part in. I call him a rubber face actor, turn down the sound and just watch him, he has the skill to draw you in," said Nesbitt. "Jaden is a great young man that works very hard and understands the value of communication. Jaden is a great leader that enjoys life."

Group speech, choral reading in particular, Holton said, provided the greatest fun, working as a team to achieve success. Performing pieces written for them by their coach is something most speech students in other schools do not have the privilege to be a part of.

The All-State Festival, the frosting on the cake, Holton said, is always fun.

"It's more laid back. We've done what we need to do to get to that point, the pressure is over. All-State is the time to show your talents to the state of Iowa."

Holton knows when he leaves high school in May that he is prepared - he knows the importance of communication and will definitely need it in his future career of being a physical therapist or a doctor.

"Working with Nesbitt has been fun; speech has been a blast - and the success doesn't hurt. Speech is something I will always look back on and have great memories."

Holton will perform at All-State for the last time on Saturday.