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The Lantern

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All in the family

Ian Olson, assistant speech coach at CFHS joins his cousin Josh, a social studies teacher at the school

Assistant speech coach Ian Olson works with an orator

Assistant speech coach Ian Olson works with an orator

Sam Hamann

Sam Hamann

Assistant speech coach Ian Olson works with an orator

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After years of having an Olson teaching in the halls of Cannon Falls, the school readies itself as it takes on another. Ian Olson is Josh Olson’s cousin and now a coach for the Cannon Fall’s Speech team. “It’s great to see him in the building,” comments Olson about his cousin. “We weren’t really that close as kids considering he is ten years younger than I am. But it is great to see him interacting with the kids.”

Ian graduated from Cannon Falls in 2006 and was a huge band nerd who played the bass and was a part of the Steel Drum group, Jazz band and the Drumline. He also tried out for golf, cross country, tennis and attempted basketball. Among these he was also a speechie. “I did Great Speeches when I was a freshman but really didn’t like my piece,” remembers Olson the younger. “It was about the invasion of Iraq spoken by George H. W. Bush. I tried speech again when I was a senior but did Duo that time. Had a lot more fun and so I stuck around as a speech judge.” Ian was a judge for seven years after he graduated and has now come back as a coach from the approval of co-head Speech Coach, Cal VandeHoef. “Ian and I kept in touch after he graduated and he had judged for us a few times so he was always around and asked if he wanted to be a coach after our coach Ashley Howden last year went back to school to finish college.”

Katie Allen
Ian Olson awaits results at Cannon Falls speech tournament

So far the season has done wonders with Cannon taking first at every tournament except one where they took second. Ian has brought an imaginative light to the speech team, being able to adapt to the wide variety of categories and help each person a different way. “I’m honestly just riding on the efforts of everyone else,” jokes Ian. “I’m like that one kid in the group project that doesn’t pull his weight.” VandeHoef thinks differently on the other hand. “He’s doing great. Not worried at all about him. Hoping he will stay around a little bit longer before he heads back to medical school.” Ian has been a helpful addition to the speech team, working hard to play hard or sometimes playing hard when should be working hard. Either way, Ian has added something new to the speech team that has helped many of the students improve in their speech and think differently about the activity. “Ian seems to be connecting with the kids really well,” says cousin Olson. “All in all it has been a positive experience.”

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All in the family