Senior Alex Dressman stared straight ahead, attempting to take in the enormity of the scene. She sat in front of a gym packed with parents, friends and fellow students all watching expectantly. Before her was a table draped in red tablecloth with red and black balloons tied to the corner. In the center of the table, awaiting her signature, sat a letter of intent guaranteeing that she will have a scholarship to play soccer at William Jewell College. She leaned forward, picked up the provided pen and shook off the nerves as she signed her name.“It was nerve wracking,” Dressman said. “I thought my hand was going to cramp up but I managed to get my full name down.”Dressman is one of fourteen SM East students who have chosen to sign letters of intent with colleges who have offered them athletic scholarship packages. To honor their achievement, the school arranged for a signing ceremony to occur on National Signing Day, Feb. 1.
Each signee was seated at a table decorated with the colors and logos of their chosen schools. As they sat down, each athlete looked at the paper with a blank face, minds focused on reconciling with what they were about to do. The students were then invited to sign the letters of intent and give a short speech thanking those who helped them along the way. Most of the signees kept their lists short, knowing that those who truly deserved thanks would be thanked in person. After the last signee had spoken, the audience was invited to come down and give theircongratulations as well as enjoy refreshments provided by the school.
Though the crowd of proud parents and friends was excited and wanted to talk to every athlete, signees such as Virginia softball recruit Shannon McGinley stood almost in shock as the finality of the situation began to become apparent.
“It is still kind of sinking in a bit,” McGinley said. “Last year around this time it was really nerve wracking for me because I was traveling around, going to different camps, and I didn’t really know where I was going to be. It all happened so fast but I am so relieved that I finally know where I am going.”
For many of the fourteen seniors, signing the letter of intent is a moment they have waited four years for.
“I remember going to a signing my freshman year and thinking how cool the kids were who were signing and hoping it would happen to me,” Dressman said as students left the gym. “I feel blessed, its such a great opportunity and I cannot believe it is happening to me.”
The students who signed at the ceremony were as follows:
Toni Aguiar – Track/Field – Dartmouth College
Dakota Collins – Football – Coffeyville Community College
Mollie Cooper – Girls Tennis – Colorado State University
Alex Dressman – Girls Soccer – William Jewel College
Marston Fries – Girls Swimming – University of Connecticut
Mimi Fotopolous – Girls Tennis – University of Tennessee
Hayley Hansford – Volleyball – Pittsburg State University
Kara Hines – Girls Soccer – Benedictine College
Shannon McGinely – Softball – University of Virginia
Caroline Nick – Girls Basketball – Emporia State University
Conner Shrock – Boys Golf – Kansas State University
Henry Simpson – Boys Golf – Kansas State University
Meara Smith – Girls Tennis – Missouri Western State University
Molly Young – Volleyball – Johnson County Community College