SANTA ROSA BEACH, FL (WJHG/WECP) Monday was a particularly big day at South Walton High School, the folks there honoring ten student athletes who signed scholarship offers.
Ten athletes sign at South Walton
And they did it "social distancing" style.
They set up in the school auditorium starting at 9:30 and moving in 30 minute intervals, with just a few family and friends allowed in to watch.
At 9:30 Kacen Corder signing a basketball scholarship with Oxford College at Emory University.
Drake Roberts signing a baseball scholarship with Lindenwood University at ten.
At 10:30 Aiden Keenan signing a baseball scholarship with TCC, and at 11, Cade Watson also signed a baseball scholarship with the Eagles.
Then it was Zane Hamilton signing a football scholarship with Huntingdon College.
The 6th signee was Mary Pickers who signed a soccer scholarship with Covenant College. Lauren Kaiser followed, a soccer scholarship to the University of Illinois-Chicago for her.
Jacob D'Aleo signed a track scholarship with Embry Riddle. Tyo Smtih a track schollie with Webber International. Same school for Tanner Martin, also track scholarship for him.
"Well I mean these kids have worked their whole lives really, I mean people think it's just for years, but they've worked longer than that just to get this opportunity." says South Walton A.D. and head football coach Phil Tisa. "And we wanted to honor our athletes. So we tried to decide how we could do a signing day and still stick to the CDC guidelines and everything like that. So We put this idea together. And we've had to adjust the original time, we had the fires. The Miusset Bayou fire that postponed this. And today when we were going to do it, then we had rain coming in so we had to move it indoors. So there's been a lot of hurdles and obstacles. But These kids deserve to have their day."
Coach Tisa went on to tell me "I mean this is exciting. It wasn't easy but it's worth it I mean it's been smiles all day long. Especially to see how excited and grateful these kids have been. That I can just give them a little something."
And coach admits, this is a tad bittersweet, saying goodbye to so many great kids.
"It is, but High School, that's all we are, we're a stepping stone.that's all we are. Their goals are bigger beyond us. We're just trying to you know provide them that firm footing to get to the next stage of their life."
All this several weeks in the making, pushed back by the pandemic, then the fire which forced the school to be used as a shelter. And finally, it all came together, and as coach Tisa puts it, again worth all the effort.
"The kids that are signing today they are, their workers, they are great kids, they are good students. Some of them had to overcome so much and you know, just the maturation process. And that's been exciting to get to see that. I feel great about these kids going on. You know I think we do as teachers and administrators, Try to make them leave us as better citizens and hopefully prepared for the future."
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