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Halt to begin teaching, coaching career at Barr-ReevePosted Tuesday, July 15, 2008, at 12:51 PM
When Halt was a three-sport standout and salutatorian at White River Valley, she thought about going to Purdue University and eventually ending up in med school.
But it was Halt's love of athletics, she played basketball, volleyball and tennis before graduating from WRV in 2003, that led her to Oakland City University.
While using academic scholarships at OCU, Halt played basketball for two years and then volleyball for her final two years for the Lady Oakes, helping Oakland City qualify for the National Christian College Athletic Association national finals her senior year.
"I wanted to play athletics in college and OCU provided me with the chance to do that," said Halt, who played on WRV's Class A state runner-up team in 2001. "I visited OCU and really liked it.
"I love animals and love being outside as I grew up on a farm. I kind of wanted to do something in the science area. I took a biology course and really liked it and the professor. I decided to go with biology as my major and also majored in science education with a minor in chemistry."
Halt, who was JV girls basketball and volleyball coach while doing her student teaching at Barr-Reeve last year, had no idea that starting out as a sixth grade coach at Barr-Reeve three years would lead to her first full-time job.
"My brother-in-law, Travis Madison, is the principal at Barr-Reeve," said Halt, whose played with cousins Amber and April Williams at WRV. "I was playing volleyball in the fall and spring and had some free time in the winter when he asked me to do it.
"Mark Holt was the varsity coach. He was around when I played and he knew of me. I guess he remembered me, which led to me first becoming part of their program."
Halt, who listed her siblings Troy and Heather and her parents Dave and Jo as some of her biggest influences and role models both academically and athletically, does not have any coaching aspirations beyond being the JV volleyball coach at Barr-Reeve High School.
"To be a varsity coach, it takes a lot of responsibility and dedication to run a program," said Halt. "I won't say that I will never do that, but I don't foresee it in my immediate future."
Halt wants to focus on the classroom primarily.
"That is one of the reasons I gave up coaching basketball and volleyball," she said. "I don't think you can give enough time to your students if you are always running off to a practice or a game.
"There are so many things I want to do in our science labs. I want to do creative and new things for the kids."
Halt, who was known as one of the hardest working players during her athletic career, said that teaching on the court ties in with teaching in the classroom.
"You try to reach kids in different ways," she said. "In my three years of coaching, I have learned how to handle different personalities.
"Some kids you have to yell at on the court while other kids would cry if you did that. As a teacher and coach, you want to help a student or athlete do their best and make the most of their abilities. Whether on the court or in the classroom, the challenge is to find out what makes kids tick. It is a constant challenge, which is what I love about it. When you see that kids are improving, meeting challenges and say thank you, it is all worth it."
Becky Borter, who coached Halt for her four seasons on the White River Valley volleyball team, said that Barr-Reeve is fortunate to have Holly.
"As a person, Holly is one of the most decent human beings I have ever known," said Borter. "She is dedicated and a very hard working person.
"She was probably one of my all-time favorite players to coach. I am so thrilled for her."
Madison said Halt, who was approved unanimously by the school board, will make a good addition to their school corporation.
"We are extremely excited to have her join our staff," said Madison, who was athletic director and assistant principal at WRV during Halt tenure at the Greene County school. "We feel she will do a wonderful job in the classroom and with coaching our athletic teams.
"Holly is an extremely hard worker and will be a great addition to the Barr-Reeve School Community."
Halt, who added, Christian background and her close knit family have been a big part of her success, is ready for her new career to begin.
"I am really looking forward to getting my class room set up and getting started," she said. "I did not know how well I would like being a coach and teacher after being the athlete for so long. But I decided to try it.
"I really like the facility and staff at Barr-Reeve. They have some great resources. I am really excited about it."
B.J. Hargis is the sports editor at the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached at (812) 847-4487, ext. 12 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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