OKC High School Senior Defies Odds Amidst Hearing Loss

Tuesday, March 9th 2021, 7:35 am
By: Jordan Dafnis

Tuesday is International People With Disabilities Awareness Day and News 9 is recognizing the accomplishments of people who face unique challenges but don’t let their circumstances determine their success.

High School Senior Isaiah Holt is an outstanding example. He excels at multiple activities including academics and a record-breaking athletic career despite being deaf.

During his high school career, he achieved 1,707 career points on the basketball court. He also participates in cheer and serves as the volleyball manager.

Isaiah, who is from Oklahoma City, consistently demonstrates a servant heart as a dedicated volunteer leader in National Honor Society, Key Club, Family Career and Community Leaders of America, and treasurer for the Class of 2021.

As a Key Club leader, Isaiah has volunteered at Pet Angels in Guthrie and raised funds for supplies for first responders, vet bills at the Davis Animal Shelter, and supplies and Christmas gifts for the Little Lighthouse in Tulsa. He helped Family Career and Community Leaders of America to gather nonperishables for local food distribution for families in need.

Recently he received several awards in 2019-2020 including Deaf Digest Player of the Year and All-American, NDIAA District 2 Player of the Year and First Team All-American, All-Star SCC, Great Plains School for the Deaf All-Tournament Cheer and All-Tournament Basketball.

"I hear that being deaf you won't be able to do things well and your future is going to be grim and really too... You can do anything in the world, you just can't hear," says Holt.

Oklahoma School For The Deaf basketball Coach Jason Sledd is passionate about developing his players both on and off the court. He has been a trivial part in helping Isaiah develop.

"He didn't reach a ceiling he just continues to develop so we are just giving him all that we have got and man, what a big change in this guy." says Sledd.

Up until his freshman year, Isaiah went to a hearing school and struggled to find opportunities, now that he is at a place that can understand him, his confidence has grown and he is thriving.

“I feel that there is more equality. I feel like everyone else. There is a communication here and oneness and I don’t feel alone or left out,” says Holt.

His coach is one of his biggest inspirations.

“Discipline is one big thing and developing character and I have realized that deaf people can accomplish things,” says Holt.

Now Holt wants to become a basketball coach so that he can help other kids to feel the same way.

"I definitely love working with kids and it seems like it is just so much fun for me helping other people and getting involved. It builds confidence in kids and things like that,” says Holt.

The coaching staff is dedicated to helping all of the students achieve their goals.

“If somebody wants to succeed in life and become a doctor, there is no limit. Whatever they want to do in the lids, there is not that atmosphere of you can’t,” says Sledd.

Click here if you are interested in helping support the Oklahoma School For The Deaf.