The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

The student news site of Stillwater Area High School

The Pony Express

Stillwater Pony Express

John Corbett sets up for success

Over+mothers+day+weekend+15+students+attended+the+National+Individual+Event+Tournament+of+Champions+in+Nebraska.+Senior+John+Corbett+being+one+of+these+students.+He+competed+in+both+Informative+speaking+and+Duo+interpretation.+While+he+did+not+final+in+Duo+he+made+it+to+the+quarter+finals+in+Info+making+him+a+top+30+competitor+in+the+nation.+Head+coach+Kristen+Van+Houten+also+attended+the+competition+as+a+supporter+and+judge.+
Photo submitted by Kristen Van Houten
Over mothers day weekend 15 students attended the National Individual Event Tournament of Champions in Nebraska. Senior John Corbett being one of these students. He competed in both Informative speaking and Duo interpretation. While he did not final in Duo he made it to the quarter finals in Info making him a top 30 competitor in the nation. Head coach Kristen Van Houten also attended the competition as a supporter and judge.

When asked to describe senior John Corbett in one word the answer was, charismatic. From his informative speech on immortality to in-class debates, Corbett skillfully charms those around him into otherwise uncomfortable conversations while maintaining an intriguing hint of comedy. His charm and intellect allow him to thrive in his many activities ranging from track to speech and debate.

The way he uses humor as a vehicle for some of his beliefs can sort of help people take themselves less seriously at times. And I think as the world becomes more polarized, we need to be more able to laugh at ourselves

— Soren Peterson

“The way he uses humor as a vehicle for some of his beliefs can sort of help people take themselves less seriously at times. And I think as the world becomes more polarized, we need to be more able to laugh at ourselves,” senior Soren Peterson explained. 

The character that is Corbett remains a mystery to most who know him. The diversity of his activities and how “John has always wanted to stand out and surprise people,” keeps those around him on their toes, never knowing what he will say or do next. 

According to Corbett’s speech coach Joseph Kalka, “He thrives on challenging what people think and getting them to engage in thoughtful conversations.”

His drive to challenge others, and by extension himself, contributes to his elevated personality. Every conversation held with Corbett is engaging, challenging, and informational. 

“He has become a lot more grounded and mature in his arguments. He understands that his perspective isn’t the only one that matters,” Kalka said.

The new head coach of the speech team Kristen Van Houten has a similar interpretation of Corbett describing him as someone who loves getting a reaction from people. This is something that students on the speech team covet, the ability to captivate their audience. 

“John isn’t afraid to try new things, demolish the box, be reckless and offensive- these are all great qualities in speech. He shakes the room and people remember him for it,” Van Houten explained. 

Outside of speech Corbett is on the track team and participates in stock trading. Currently, he is unable to compete in track due to an injury. 

“He has the ability to transition from sports to stage in an effortless way. He participates in music, sports, and extracurricular activities and is well rounded in activities like several of our speech students but the way he isolates his performance for each is very unique,” Van Houten said.

Corbett’s ability to spark conversation and debate makes him not only a great speaker but also sets him up for success in the future. He plans to become a lawyer and put his public speaking skills to use. Van-Houten described that, in ten years she sees Corbett, “taking his first job out of college and getting an opportunity to share his charisma, talent and work ethic with a very lucky law firm, investment banking office, entrepreneurial company or entry-level political office.”

His passion for trading stocks and public speaking is the perfect building blocks for future success. That along with his charismatic character and ability to engage in difficult conversations makes him someone that according to Peterson, “a lot of people would maybe benefit a little more from”. 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover

Comments (0)

The Pony Express intends for this area to be used to foster healthy thought-provoking discussion. Comments are expected to adhere to the standards of the Pony Express and to be respectful and constructive. Furthermore, we do not permit any of the following inappropriate content including: Libel or defamatory statements, any copyrighted, trademarked, or intellectual property of others, the use of profanity and foul language or personal attacks. All comments are reviewed and approved by staff to ensure that they meet the standards of this publication. The Pony Express does not allow anonymous comments. We require a name and valid email address submitted. This email address will not be displayed but will be used to confirm your comments. Online comments that are found in violation of these policies will be removed as quickly as possible.
All The Pony Express Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *