Big dreams, solid foundations: March Student Leaders relying on local achievements to build careers in entertainment

Michael Smith
Asa Robertson

Ardmore’s Jade Russell and Madill’s Asa Robertson each have big goals and solid paths to get there. While not uncommon for many area students, the pair stand out as the March Student Leaders of the Year for dedication and talent in their respective fields while also maintaining important roles in their communities.

Russell has been an active member of the Ardmore arts community even before she attended Ardmore High School. As a singer from a very young age, Russell said honor choir in elementary school was some of the earliest participation in performing arts.

Dance was another activity that set her up for performance endeavors later in life. “I started dancing when I was six years old and it’s just something that I’ve liked to do since I was younger,” she said. By high school, Russell would be a member of the pom squad and has enjoyed helping other students start each school year with enthusiasm.

Russell also joined Brass Ring in high school and developed an interest in theater. Most recently the senior led the production of “Once Upon an Island” but the performing arts group also gave her the opportunity to work as an Oklahoma ambassador in Salt Lake City for an anti bullying organization in 2018.

As a member of Leaflets, Russell has undertaken charitable events closer to home. She said her favorite experiences usually involved area nursing homes, including gift bags and holiday caroling for residents.

Along with a strong artistic background, Russell’s academic achievements are equally impressive. The National Honor Society member has appeared on every Superintendent's Honor Roll and has a 3.8 GPA. According to her nomination, Russell “pushes herself as demonstrated by her academic schedule and the number of courses she is taking at higher education.”

The natural-born performer expects to grace the stage through college and will audition for musical productions. She said her plans after an education in dance performance and business at the University of Central Oklahoma will hopefully involve a startup business in Los Angeles.

The Ardmore artist can use acting, dance and voice to convey messages, but Russell said her favorite classes from Ardmore High School involved English language arts. “I like how you can find different ways to say certain things in order for them to make sense,” she said.

Robertson also started his path early with an extensive background in athletics. The Madill High School senior recently signed with Southern Nazarene University to play football and plans to keep the sport as part of a career. “It’s kind of crazy, but I want to get into scouting for football and hopefully become a general manager one day,” he said.

His athletic achievements are numerous. Along with football awards, Robertson has received recognition for track and field, basketball and even bowling. But football remains his passion.

He said opportunities often crop up when working with younger students both at school and at church. Robertson has coached Upwards youth basketball and is an active member of the First Baptist Church youth group. Each summer he travels as part of Servants With A Task and helps people with projects around the home, like building porches or repairing damage.

According to his nomination, Robertson has been a “role model for the younger students” by holding to ideals and showing respect for elders.

He said things like the NFL draft each year are exciting and plans to study business management during college and perhaps have a role in future drafts. The National Honor Society member, FCA member and student council member has been class president for three years. With a 4.0 GPA, he said Madill math teachers have set him up to reach his goals.

“I want to study business up there, so I’ve been taking math classes to get myself prepared,” he said.