An unprecedented seven Seahawk seniors signed on the dotted line May 7 as they committed to college scholarships to play in their respective sports.
Added to the two football players who signed last month, this total of nine Seahawks committed to college sports marked a new pinnacle in the school’s seven-year sports program.
The Seahawks who signed at the afternoon rally in the gym were a collection of four soccer players, two softball players and one basketball player.
Former girls soccer coach Kelli Maggio Wright, now a phys ed teacher and assistant coach at Arnold High School in Panama City, was on hand as current girls soccer coach Joe Shields introduced the two girl soccer stars he helped develop - Gracyn Kirvin and Adriana Reeder – who are both on their way to play for the Faulkner University Eagles, a private Christian school in Montgomery, Alabama.
The boys coach, Ramon Valenzuela, helped introduced the Seahawk boys soccer stars - James Harris and Graham Kirvin – who have committed to play for the Thomas University Night Hawks, a private liberal arts school in Thomasville, Georgia.
Lady Seahawk coach Scott Collins introduced the two players - Ashley Carroll and Ally Millender – who have committed to playing for the Wallace Community College Lady Govs, at the two-year institution of higher learning, formerly known as George C. Wallace State Community College, in located in Dothan, Alabama. Wallace’s interim head softball coach Ronny Lunsford was on hand for the signing.
The lone basketball player to sign was senior Cameron White, who will dress for the Trinity Baptist College Eagles, at a private university in Jacksonville. His future coach, John D. Jones, attended the signing ceremony.
After an introduction from Athletic Director Mike Sweatt, Shields took the stage before a boisterous audience of high school students in the gym. Shields praised both Gracyn Kirvin and Reeder, who he has known for years while they grew up playing soccer.
“She has soccer in her blood,” he said of Kirvin. “It makes sense she wanted to pursue soccer as a college coach.
Shields described Reeder as “quite possibly the hardest working girl” he has coached, who has withstood legal but harsh hits, and bounced back. Maggio Wright did not speak, but sat in the bleachers, beaming at her players’ success.
Boys coach Ramon Valenzuela introduced Graham Kirvin and Harris, stressing that this is the first time the soccer program has sent four of its alumni on to athletic scholarships.
Girls coach Scott Collins introduced Millender and Carroll. Former Lady Seahawk coach Lisa Sweatt did not speak, but stood, happily, in back, proud of both girls.
Mike Sweatt introduced White, noting that in his years as a coach “I have never seen somebody make the gains he’s made.” Sweatt said White added 11 inches to his 22” vertical leap, as he invested countless hours working towards his goal.
White echoed the feelings of all the athletes in his remarks, stressing that performance in the classroom was top priority. “You have to get it done there first, before you can get it done on the court or in the field,” he said. “Don’t let anyone tell you you can’t.”
He then quoted from Philippians 4:13 which reads “I can do all things through Christ] who strengthens me.”
Mike Sweatt told the audience about need for good grades, usually better than a 3.0 grade point average, plus decent test scores. “You have to have coaches that will back you up,” he said. “Moms and dads, aunts and uncles, people that will help you in the process too. And the final thing you got to do is you got to work.”