State One-Act Championship tops off success for English teacher

The 2017 One-Act State title trophy sits in Jarod Ockander’s room. The play this year was “The Tragical History of Dr. Faustus,” receiving a 1-60, 1-60, 1-60 at state.

Maya Couch

Many schools have fine arts programs with a team that strives to be a State Champion one day. But for David City High School, those goals become reality with the help of English teacher Jarod Ockander, the school’s biggest successor in bringing home State Champion and Runner-Up titles. Ockander mainly finds his success in planning and always being ready for anything.

Ockander is the fine arts director for DCHS. Currently, Ockander has spent 20 years coaching One-Act and Speech, giving students a competitive drive in their life while also helping their public speaking skills.

“I think what contributes to my success the most is having a plan, and then having a backup for that plan, and working hard towards that plan,” Ockander said.

Another reason for Ockander’s success is the group of students he gets each year for One-Act and Speech. Every year, the students involved in the activites work hard to achieve Ockander’s overall goal. By the time a new season comes around, the students put in their time to create success; even though sometimes this means staying up until 10:00 at night to perfect things.

“When you have a senior, everything they know is how I like it, so when they help younger students, it’s like me teaching the younger students, which is helpful,” Ockander said.

Many times during the One-Act and Speech seasons, Ockander is the only main coach, without even having an assistant coach. Although old students of his come back and help coach new members of One-Act and Speech, Ockander is the one that makes all the big decisions. By being the only coach, he really doesn’t have anybody opposing his ideas, making decisions much easier and sometimes even more productive. Without anybody to contradict Ockander’s ideas, he can follow through with his own and make it successful in that way, but he is always ready for suggestions from the students and prior students.

“I’m haunted more by my failures than I am by my successes,” Ockander said.

Ockander often reflects on past failures over successes because he can focus on the task at hand. Instead of trying to keep up the good work, Ockander uses every failure as a way to improve. He uses the bad moments as momentum to improve, to find a way to fix the problem, and to make the situation ten times better than it was before. By doing so, he has strong relationships with the students because he helps them with their failures instead of focusing on past successes.

“I absolutely love what I do, and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Ockander noted.