Alva native dedicates life to students he coaches

By BRYANT VENOSDEL. Student Reporter

“My life has had some ups and downs, but if it wasn’t for that I wouldn’t have gotten to where I am today,” Nick Bradt said, “even when you don’t know what might be going on in your life, you can get past it and will be stronger.”

Being born with an identical twin and growing up on a farm outside of Alva, Nick Bradt is a man with a sense of humor, and always making someone laugh with either his jokes or stories. It wasn’t always that way though, as when he was young his shyness held him back from participating in most school activities. Now he’s a successful speech and debate coach with having produced 41 All Staters throughout his years of coaching.

Bradt was born in Alva on Nov. 11, 1980. Along with his twin brother, Jerad Bradt he has a sister named Lisa. Nick is married to Cara Bradt and they have two kids, their daughter Joplin and their youngest, that was born May 4, 2016, Memphis.

Bradt was a hard worker when he was younger. He and his twin brother, Jerad Bradt, spent most of their youths hanging out with one another. “We liked to watch movies and go play outside,” Jerad said, “we played catch, rode bikes and went fishing.” Nick has always been a fan of comic books and superheroes, which started when he read his first comic book, The Incredible Hulk. “I really liked The Incredible Hulk, and when I got the comic for my birthday, I started buying more and soon enough had a pretty good collection,” Bradt said.

The reason Bradt is such a good speech coach, is because he enjoys what he does and enjoys watching his student succeed and be the best they can be. Chase Jones, a senior at Alva High and on the speech and debate team, has worked with Bradt on many occasions outside of class and knows just how much work and passion he puts into what he does. “Mr. Bradt is always ready to help someone and practice with them,” Jones said, “he’s always coming up with blocking scenes and jokes that we can add to our scripts that make them stand out.”

Nick makes an impression on whoever he comes across, whether it be his personality or his overall appearance of 400 pounds and standing at a height close to 6’6, he is more of a gentle giant. “Mr. Bradt is always wearing one of those printed tee-shirts, with a superhero on it, or maybe a video game,” Jones said, “you wouldn’t think someone who is that big and tall would be wearing a shirt with Super Mario on it, but he does.”

Being a speech and debate coach, Bradt becomes close to the kids that he coaches throughout their 4 years of high school, and the kids become close to him as well. Mr. Bradt is known for pulling pranks on his students often. Shane Murrow, a student who graduated from Alva High in 2013 and did speech and debate all 4 years of high school under Bradt, recalls one of the times he got pranked by Bradt. “I was in Nick’s class and he printed something out to his printer that was in the other room in his class,” Murrow said, “he asked me to go get the paper he printed so I went to get it. When I opened the door to the room, a spider dropped down right in front of my face and it scared me pretty good. Of course Bradt has a fake spider on string.

Just because Bradt is a teacher and pranks his students, doesn’t mean that he doesn’t get pranked back, Murrow went on to say, “We pranked him all the time too, so it evened out. Nick always had a diet Coke that he buys from Rialto, and when he stepped out of class we would cut his straw so it would wouldn’t go all the way down to his drink but still looked like it was a normal straw,” Murrow said. “When we did our senior prank we literally rearranged his whole room, we unplugged his computer and moved his desk to the opposite side of the classroom, and moved all the tables and chairs to the other end, and took and hid a lot of his classroom supplies, that he probably hasn’t even found yet,” Murrow said.

With all the work of making sure students have scripts, practicing them and coming up with fresh material, Nick has a hectic schedule. That’s why one of his fellow teachers and friends helps him along the way. Chris Eckhardt, an English teacher at Alva High School, helps Bradt with everyday activities from practicing with kids, to going to state contests and judging. “Nick and I actually went to high school together and we were friends then,” Eckhardt said, “he is really good at what he does and he has a knack for picking out the right scripts for people, and teaching students how to act.”

Eckhardt likes helping the students in their work, because he too did speech and debate when he went to high school. “I have always liked acting and being on stage,” Eckhardt said, “I was pretty successful and placed at state many times, and it is always great to see someone you have coached do just as great or better.”

Besides teaching, Nick also DJ’s for BOSS music which is owned by his brother Jerad. “I’ve had a lot of DJ gigs, Jerad and I have been doing it since high school,” says Nick, “we usually get a lot of business through proms and weddings.” DJ’ing has been one of his favorite passions ever since he first started. “I really just love music and finding new music,” says Nick, “it’s fun to play your favorite songs, and watch people dance and have a good time. Its’s a great atmosphere.”

Along with BOSS music, Jerad Bradt also owns The Menagerie, which is located out west of town. Nick puts in work out there as well, and tends to the animals they have, which includes llamas, alpacas, sheep and camels. “Working out at The Menagerie is fun for the most part,” Nick said, “we have a lot of animals but the one that gets the most attention would be our fainting goats. It’s actually pretty funny to watch, it’s just their body’s instinct to do whenever feel panic.” The Menagerie puts up a hay barrel maze every year and have just recently set up an outside laser tag course. “We got the laser tag course set up and immediately people were interested and came out to play,” Jerad Bradt said, “since our course is outside, we had a lot of room to put spots for cover and places you can climb and hide behind. It’s a fun way to spend an afternoon.”

Nick Bradt has recently just had 5 students become All-Staters at the State Speech contest, which is held in Norman, Oklahoma every year. Bradt always has a journey with his kids during every speech season. “Going to State Speech is the most fun time we as a team have,” Nick said, “you find out if all the work you have put in will pay off or not. Whether we come home with losers or winners, I know all the kids I coach have their heart in it and I’m proud of them, because it takes guts to get up and perform a piece in front of a room full of people watching you, and they have guts for that.”