Spring ISD student athletes and their friends and family members gathered on Wednesday to take part in National Signing Day, with athletes putting pen to paper at Westfield, Dekaney and Spring high schools.
Overall, 25 students from the three schools signed letters of intent with colleges to play football, basketball, or baseball, with schools ranging from as far away as the University of Puget Sound and as local as the University of Houston.
Westfield High School
At Westfield High School, nine varsity players signed with a variety of schools. Gathered in that school’s performing arts center, family members and community members cheered as the players officially declared their schools of choice. Westfield High School Matt Meekins told the gathered crowd that this was a result of everyone’s hard work and cooperation.
“These young men had a great support system along the way,” Meekins said. “That consisted of, most importantly, their teammates, as well as teachers, classmates, mentors, Westfield High School administrators, and parents and family members. Together, we achieve more.”
Anthony Holmes Jr. was one of the athletes in attendance, having signed early in December to play defensive tackle with the University of Houston. He said that this opportunity is one he does not take for granted.
“It means a lot to me. It shows me that all my hard work, all the years playing football, all the tough times were worth it,” Holmes said. “It’s a great reward and a blessing to have something like that, to go to college and keep playing the sport that I love.”
Terrell Golston, sitting in the fourth row of the auditorium, looked on as his son, Kailon Golston, signed with East Central University and its football program.
“I’m excited,” Golston said. “He got this offer and opportunity to go play with a college like that? That’s exciting. He did a lot of work, too much to talk about. He’s always helping people out, helping his grandparents, helping us around the house, and helping his school out. He’s dependable. He’s earned this.”
Westfield had a total of nine students sign letters to play football: De’Qarius Calhoun, Mississippi College; Brian Eashmond, East Central University; Kiemond Emilien, Mississippi College; Kailon Golston, East Central University; Chuuky Hines, University of Hawaii; Anthony Holmes Jr., University of Houston; Traveon Peyton, University of Puget Sound; Cardell Williams, University of Tulsa; and Delrick Williams, North America University.
Dekaney High School
Over at Dekaney High School’s ceremony, three student athletes and their supporters gathered in that school’s gymnasium to celebrate the academic and athletic achievements. Spring ISD Board President Justine Durant was in attendance at several of the day’s signing ceremonies, and said she was there in support of the students and their families.
“I am actually honored and humbled to be here to support our scholars who are moving on in their education,” Durant said. “This is why we do what we do. When we are able to recognize their success at any time, it solidifies all the hard work and the efforts that we put in place. With the partnership of their parents, all of our staff, teachers, and administration, we invest in our kids.”
For one athlete, Jaiden Robertson, it was the continuation of a strong family legacy of upper-level athletics, including family members who played basketball at the collegiate level as well as cousins and uncles who play for the National Football League. Robertson had offers from three different schools, but announced his pick – University of Central Arkansas – at National Signing Day.
“I’ve been working for this since I was four years old,” Robertson said. “I’ve watched family members make it, and this is my time now. I’m happy for myself, and for my family pushing me. They’ve always told me to just stay the course, and it’s brought me here.”
Robertson’s dad, Kenneth Stephens, has more than one reason to celebrate. As the father of an athlete, of course, but also as a coach. Stephens serves as the head basketball coach at Dekaney High School, and coached his son.
“Over the past four years, I’ve had the opportunity to coach my son,” Stephens said. “It’s been some of the greatest times of my life. It’s going to be memories that we cherish forever, and at the end of the day those things, those lessons, those ups and downs, are going to be what carries us through life. Those are the things that he can pass down to my grandchildren one day.”
Dekaney had a total of three students sign letters: Enock Gota, football at Rice University; Jayden Jackson, basketball at University of Arkansas – Cossatot Community College; and Jaiden Robertson, football at University of Central Arkansas.
Spring High School
At Spring High School, a total of 13 student athletes signed letters of intent to join a range of collegiate athletics programs. Trent Miller, athletic coordinator and Spring High’s football head coach, welcomed the audience of family, friends and Spring High School students.
“This is probably the most exciting time of the year for the athletic departments in Spring ISD – to recognize all of these kids, their successes, and their commitment,” said Miller as student athletes and the crowd of well-wishers gathered in the gym before the school’s afternoon ceremony.
Miller noted the obstacles overcome by the players over the past two years – having to navigate complicated safety protocols and periods of quarantine that disrupted game schedules and students’ ability to practice together with teammates, as well as having to stay on top of their studies – through periods of both in-person and remote learning – in order to remain eligible to play.
“With what this class has had to go through, with COVID and everything related to that, their resiliency to be able to be up here today on this stage is a testament to their hard work and commitment to what they love doing,” Miller said.
After graduation, Spring High School senior Bishop Davenport is headed off to join the football program at Utah State after leading the Spring High Lions as quarterback and, in December, being named an Offensive Player of the Year Finalist by the Touchdown Club of Houston.
“It’s kind of sad because you know you’ve got to leave – leaving your brothers and leaving your family,” Davenport said of his teammates and coaches. “But it feels good to just know that you put in all this work, and that you came from not even knowing if you were going to make it, to actually getting an opportunity, so that’s always exciting, just to accomplish your goals.”
Spring ISD Director of Athletics Armando Jacinto made the rounds on National Signing Day, attending the ceremonies at the high schools to congratulate players and celebrate with them, their families, and district coaching staff.
“It’s a testament to the talent and passion that our student athletes have, and also to what they’ve achieved in the classroom to meet the academic criteria to be offered a scholarship,” Jacinto said. “It makes me proud for Spring ISD, proud for each individual school, and also proud for the athletes, the families, and for the dedication of our coaches who put in so much work to develop that talent.”
Spring High School students signing letters of intent on National Signing Day included 11 football players: Ivan Autenreith, University of Houston; Cadyn Bradley, Blinn College; Myron Carter, University of New Mexico; Bishop Davenport, Utah State University; Dorian Friend, University of Houston; Joziah Fogle, Abilene Christian University; Joey Fussell, Texas A&M University-Kingsville; Gerrod Henderson, Tulane University; Bral’on Jones, Blinn College; Dorian Pittman, University of Mary Hardin-Baylor; and Apollo Taylor, Blinn College.
One Spring High School student signed to play baseball: Joseph Ott, who signed to Ottawa University in Kansas. Meanwhile, basketball player Leslie Newsome signed to attend Barclay College, also in Kansas.