Senior athletes sign at National Letter of Intent ceremony


Kaitlyn Chang

Five seniors signed their National Letters of Intent on Nov. 13.

Kaitlyn Chang and Chloe West

As five seniors walked into the SSAC gym to finalize their commitments to their respective colleges, the gym filled with crying friends, family and coaches. 

On Nov. 10 during daVinci, friends and family gathered to celebrate the seniors’ commitments to play Division 1 athletics at non-Ivy League universities. Each signed a National Letter of Intent (NLI), which is a binding document indicating their commitment to enter college as an NCAA student athlete.

Ella Flowers, the school record holder for the 100 meter backstroke, 100 meter fly and two relays, signed her NLI to the University of Southern California (USC).

“I kind of messed up at the signing ceremony because I forgot to prepare a speech and thank my brothers, but throughout the whole thing, my parents, my brothers and my coaches were all super helpful and supportive,” Flowers said. “I really did want to thank them at the ceremony.” 

Despite Flowers’ unprepared speech, she brought tears to many peoples’ eyes. Swim coach Ron Raper spoke about her many accomplishments and records, emphasizing how deserving she is to be attending USC.

Erin Walsh, a defender on the SJS and Texas Pride field hockey teams, committed to Davidson College to continue her field hockey career. Walsh’s decision to attend Davidson was easy. 

I always knew that I wanted to go to Davidson,” she said. “It’s a very small liberal arts school and the classes are about the same size as St. John’s, so I can have that one-on-one connection with the teachers.”

Friends and teammates, including sophomore Hailey King, attended the ceremony to support the seniors. King played field hockey with three of the signees—Sloan Davidson, Megan Wetzel and Walsh. 

“I was so happy for everyone signing their National Letter of Intent that I was almost tearing up,” King said. “I’ve known three of the seniors since Lower School, and I am so unbelievably proud of them.”

At the conclusion of the ceremony, attendees gathered around five cakes with the mascots of each of the five seniors’ colleges: a bobcat, a terrier, a cavalier, a trojan and a longhorn. Walsh offered advice to students who hope to play sports in college. 

Keep an open mind in the process,” Walsh said. “You might have one dream school, but there could be other schools that could be a better fit for you.”