Seventy Garland ISD seniors commit to play collegiate sports

GARLAND ISD, TX (March 6, 2015) Garland Independent School District honored 70 high school athletes at the district’s annual Signing Day Ceremony Feb. 4 at the Curtis Culwell Center. The seniors have all signed letters of intent to play a variety of sports, from baseball to rugby, at institutions of higher learning in the fall.

During the ceremony, family, friends, teachers and administrators showed their support by applauding, cheering and snapping pictures of the honorees as they walked the stage. This year’s affair recognized students from all seven high schools as well as 10 sports. Rowlett High School students Chioma Akolam and Mandy Carmon were two of the gleaming seniors to be recognized.

“This is just an extra special moment because all of my friends and family are here,” said Carmon, who is committed to Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College. “I got signed for volleyball. I am the first in my family to get a college offer for athletics.”

“I hope that I just take every positive thing I can from this moment, and inspire my family,” Akolam added. “I felt relieved when I got signed for track and field at Southern Arkansas University. It is such a long process and I am happy to know where I am going.”

Oklahoma and Arkansas are just two of the 17 states these soon-to-be alumni will call home in the near future.

And though their children might be leaving home in a couple of months, parents were perhaps the most ecstatic attendees.

“I feel so happy and blessed,” said Taiye Ozigbo, whose son, Devine, will attend the University of Nebraska. “As a matter a fact, happy cannot even describe how I feel. I hope he goes to school because education is number one, plays football real well and continues to be a good boy.”

To help motivate Devine and his peers to continue along the path to success, Garland ISD’s Director of Athletics Cliff Odenwald ended the event with some stirring words of inspiration.

“I am going to encourage you to enjoy the journey and have fun,” Odenwald told the audience.  “There will be some hard times, and you are going to get homesick. Make the best of it. Stand tall, be proud. There is one goal that you should set, if you have not already. Do not come back to Garland ISD without that education and that diploma. And if you get the opportunity, get multiple degrees. Education will last forever. Athletics is a memory you will get to enjoy along the way.”

For a complete list of honorees, view the Signing Day program.

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