Wednesday was the day almost every high school athlete dreams about: the opportunity to sign an athletic scholarship. At this week’s 2016 Dallas ISD Signing Day Event, more than 100 student-athletes signed contracts called National Letters of Intent to compete at colleges and universities across the country.
The Dallas ISD Signing Day Event included a red carpet introduction of each college signee complete with photo opportunities to memorialize the moment.
But long before the glitz and glamour of signing day, parents, coaches, counselors and administrators worked in concert to support student-athletes with the goal of positioning them to attain these coveted athletic scholarships.
When asked what support he received in high school to position himself as a college recruit, Thomas Jefferson High School senior Kendrick Bright, who signed with West Texas A&M to play football, shared some words.
“They told me not to always depend on football, to make sure academics were first, because without academics, I wouldn’t be able to do what I am able to do with football,” he said.
Jamesia Amand of Skyline High School signed with Florida International University at the Dallas ISD Signing Day Event. Amand said her coaches supported her academic responsibilities as a student-athlete.
“My counselors and my coaches were very hands on with me as far as my academics were concerned and my school work,” Amand said. “They let me leave (practice), do my projects, and do work in the gym. We were on top of our work.”
Mercy Blanco, the first Hispanic female to sign a Division I basketball scholarship in Dallas ISD, credits her Sunset High School basketball coach Keelan Jones with having had the biggest impact on her as a student-athlete and making the difference in her ability to celebrate signing her commitment to play at the University of Arkansas at Pine-Bluff next season.