Small towns give April Student Leader candidates giant opportunities

Michael D. Smith
The Daily Ardmoreite

Editor's note: The Patriot Ardmore Student Leader program recognizes high school seniors, nominated by their high school administrative staff, that demonstrate integrity and leadership in school and extracurricular organizations while upholding high standards at the academic level. Each month two student leaders are named, and at the end of the school year the monthly student leaders will vie for the Student Leader of the Year title and a new car provided by Patriot Ardmore.

Some students may feel isolated in small-town Oklahoma but April candidates for the Patriot Ardmore Student Leader of the Year have found opportunities with their geography. For Mikayla Bohling at Fox High School, leadership in extracurricular activities has actually opened up chances to meet peers from across the state. For Isaiah Holt at the Oklahoma School for the Deaf in Sulphur, the small town has provided an environment for him to flourish. 

“I’m more of an active person so I like to get involved in different clubs and different activities,” said Holt through an American Sign Language interpreter. Originally from Lawton, Holt has attended OSD since seventh grade and said the school has given him a lot of important memories. 

“My memories have helped me become the man that I am today. I’ve grown a lot since I began here,” he said. 

The senior has been very active in school organizations including student government, Key Club, FCCLA, and is a member of the National Honor Society. Holt has also proven to be instrumental in OSD athletics as a volleyball manager and standout basketball player. 

“He is not only a record breaking OSD athlete, but also consistently excels in academics, displays high character qualities and superb leadership skills outside of athletics,” read his nomination from school administrators. 

Holt has taken home multiple national honors for his athleticism among fellow deaf or hard of hearing athletes. He was named the 2019-2020 Deaf Digest Player of the Year and the NDIAA Division II Player of the Year. He’s also been named to NDIAA All-American and all-star teams for basketball and cheer. 

When not on the court, Holt has spent hours volunteering for food drives and animal shelters. He’s helped prepare the Chickasaw National Recreation Area for the annual candle walk, raised money for the Little Lighthouse in Tulsa and gathered supplies for first responders. 

Having maintained a 3.76 GPA in high school, Holt will soon move to Washington, D.C. to attend Gallaudet University where he plans to play basketball and study for a career as a physical education teacher and coach. 

After that, he knows where he wants to go. 

“I’d like to come back to southern Oklahoma, yes,” he said. 

Another southern Oklahoma student with every intention of returning to her hometown is Mikayla Bohling. The Fox High School valedictorian for the class of 2021 knows her school is extremely small but attributes that to some of the opportunities she’s seized. 

“Even though I go to a small school and I know everyone here, I’ve been able to meet different people all over the state through FCCLA,” she said. 

Bohling has not only been active with FCCLA but has served as a district president in Oklahoma for two years. One of her favorite classes in school has been family and consumer sciences because of the real-world applications she’s learned. 

“I’ve learned so many life skills – interviewing, how to cook. That’s my favorite class, probably,” she said. 

FCCLA has also provided the senior with opportunities for community service. She has donated time to blood drives, fund raisers and school events, many events through her membership with FCCLA. Perhaps the projects that mean the most to her involve helping collect Christmas gifts for those who need them the most. 

“I’ve been in that position before, too, and I know how special it was to me. So I like giving back to the community.” 

She has held her own in other subjects, as well, considering she has maintained a 4.0 GPA. As a result, she is a National Honor Society office and has appeared on the Oklahoma High School Honor Society for four years. Bohling has also received top honors for her participation on the academic team and was nominated as an All-American for the National Cheerleaders Association. 

“Mikayla Bohling is a definite an over achiever. She is very attentive to her classroom responsibilities and is continually helping other succeed in the classroom and in extracurricular actives,” read her nomination from school administrators.  

Bohling will attend Southwestern Oklahoma State University and will study pharmacology. While her mom worked as a nurse in health care, Bohling said she wants to fill a specific need for a pharmacist. 

“We used to have a pharmacy in Ratliff (City), but it closed down so I was hoping maybe one day I could come back and put a pharmacy back in my hometown,” she said.