The NLI signing ceremony brings excitement to the FHC community

NLI signing day (2017)

Sam Hopkins

NLI signing day (2017)

Senior year brings many changes to the lives of students. For some, it means one more year with their friends before traveling off to college. But for athletes, there is little more meaning and sincerity to their collegiate athletics journey. 

February 1st marks the National Letter of Intent (NLI) signing day at FHC. The NLI ceremony is a chance for senior athletes, who are planning to compete in college sports, to be recognized for their hard work up to this point. The athletic department works diligently to help set up this special ceremony. 

“As an athletic department, we get the information out to the students that we are hosting the event,” athletic secretary Carol Sprys explained. “We set up the area we are using for the day with a signing area and other areas for the families to take pictures. Essentially, we provide the space and opportunity for this celebration.” 

This event is personal to senior athletes. After years of practice in their sports and classroom work, they finally can be recognized and finish off high school knowing that they made their dreams come true. 

The signing isn’t limited to just a few sports either. Senior Justin Osterhouse is planning on playing collegiate baseball at the Division 1 level, so this ceremony gives him and his family a chance to celebrate all of the dedication he has put into his sport. 

“I worked pretty hard to get my scholarship so it’s going to mean a lot to get to finalize it finally,” Justin said. “I’m attending the University of Purdue-Fort Wayne. I’m excited to compete against some big talent and hopefully start all four years.” 

These signing ceremonies aren’t new, but that doesn’t make the experience any less special. According to Sprys, the ceremonies have been around even before she was first employed at FHC. Originally she had helped conduct the celebrations at Novi High School, so the transition was nothing new to her. 

Another star athlete at FHC who will be attending the ceremony is senior Maya Holser. She plans on playing softball at the Division 3 level. Maya had to talk to numerous coaches before committing to her college because the division level isn’t the only factor to consider in college. 

I will be attending Hope College,” Maya stated. “I am most excited about being on the team and having the college experience, so this ceremony means a lot to me. It shows what I and my other classmates have achieved in our sports careers and where we are going in the future.” 

Maya and Justin had to go through years of camps and multiple interactions with coaches to reach where they are today. To many underclassmen, these two could be potential role models to them. Sometimes the hardest part of reaching the next level is stepping out of your comfort zone. 

“Don’t be afraid to reach out to a college coach,” Maya explained. “Anywhere you go to play your sport in college is going to be a great experience, you don’t have to go Division I.” 

Even though the seniors will sign with new schools, FHC will be in their roots. A school built on tradition, pride, and excellence will forever be a memory to all collegiate athletes. Sprys watches these athletes grow from freshmen to seniors, so she finds the ceremony relevant to her as well. 

This ceremony allows our senior athletes to share the “signing” of the sport they are playing in college with the FHC community, friends, and their family,” Sprys explained. “It is an opportunity to celebrate the hard work and sacrifice that student-athletes and their families have put into allowing them the opportunity to continue playing their sport after high school. We want the athletes to know they will ‘Always be a Ranger’ and we look forward to following them as they continue their careers beyond FHC.” 

With that being said, FHC will be holding the ceremony on February 1. Fellow seniors should look to attend and support the athletes they have grown up with. Congratulations to all signing seniors, and best of luck in your next four years!