Just Sign on the Dotted line

The first signing ceremony of 2019 recognizes four new committed athletes

Seniors+Alek+Child+and+Dante+Henry+sitting+amongst+proud+teammates+and+couches+at+the+Medina+Valley+Signing+Ceremony

PC: Amira Van Leeuwen

Seniors Alek Child and Dante Henry sitting amongst proud teammates and couches at the Medina Valley Signing Ceremony

Aya Kasim, Staff Writer

National Signing Day has passed and the signing season has just begun, as of last Wednesday, February 6. Four Medina Valley seniors have signed their National Letters of Intent and are now happily bound to their athletic college careers.

 

“As a coach, you feel a sense of satisfaction that these student-athletes have been successful enough to continue doing what they love at the next level and, most importantly, to continue their education,” coach Chris Soza said.

 

To celebrate the memorable moment and honor the students, a ceremony was held at the Panther Dome the morning of Signing Day. Heartwarming speeches from the coaches were shared as well as heavy silence and held breaths with beating hearts while the four signed their letters. The gathered crowd knew it was witnessing something special: the futures of four young individuals unfolding.

 

“The ceremony is the least we can do to honor these students,” Soza said, “It also gives family, friends, and peers the opportunity to be a part of the celebration.”

The seniors that have signed to their sport and the colleges they’ll be attending in the fall are as follows:

 

  • Cassidy Brawley (Softball)- St. Mary’s University
  • Ashley DeCock (Softball)- LeTourneau University
  • Dante Henry (Football)- Texas Lutheran University
  • Alek Child (Football)- East Texas Baptist University

 

 

 

As of their signing, these student-athletes have been granted athletic and academic scholarships to play the sports they love and study in what interests them. The college experience will begin for these students as DeCock goes into engineering/business, Brawley into Bio-med, Henry into Kinesiology, and Child into Physical Education.

“It has always been a goal of mine to get a scholarship for softball,” DeCock said. “Getting my degree and focusing on my studies is now my priority.”   

 

 

Hard work and sacrifices are what have led to the success of these four. There have been rough seasons and no time for rest. Finding the balance between jobs, grades, and social life has been the challenge throughout the many years.

 

“I started playing young,” Henry said. “Football shaped my life as I was growing up. I knew I wasn’t done; I didn’t want it to be my last season. That made me push harder.”

 

When looking back, all four students agree that their athletic journeys would not have been possible without the help of their parents and coaches.  Proud smiles and cherished hugs were present at the ceremony as a long-devoted and shared adventure was clearly ending.

“I will remember everyone that was there supporting me,” Brawley said. “It meant a lot. My parents have been by my side from the beginning when I decided to play in college. They were the ones who paid for my equipment and drove me to my games and tournaments.”

The friendships these seniors developed as Panthers will follow them to college no matter what they become–Yellowjackets, Rattlers, Bulldogs, or Tigers. Most hope to have as strong a bond with their teammates as that of between Henry and Child; after many seasons of being on the same team, the two will soon be expected to play against each other for the next couple of years.

“I’ve always known I wanted to play football for as long as possible,” Child said. “And, I will always remember signing with Dante. We’ve dreamt of playing in college together.”

 

With every fork in the road and obstacle in their path, these students learned valuable lessons. What has helped them arrive to where they are today is what they’ve taken from all they’ve faced. Here is the advice each would like to share to younger athletes:

 

“Have good grades, strive for your goals, and don’t give up,” DeCock said.

 

“Work hard and dedicate yourself to the sport you love even though you may be giving up your free time,” Brawley said. “It will be worth it in the long run,”

 

“Keep on striving, class comes first, and trust in your coaches–they know what they’re doing,” Henry said.

 

“Work as hard as you can and make memories along the way because it’s not going to last forever,” Child said.

 

Huge congratulations and best wishes to Ashley, Cassidy, Dante, and Alek. Let the future ahead be bright and glorious for our honorable Panthers!