Signing day is usually a day for athletes who sign letters of intent to the schools of their choice, but Tucker High School held a special signing day April 18.
Tucker held an academic signing day in the school’s auditorium for seniors who have already been accepted into college. Nearly 30 students were recognized in front of their parents, teachers and classmates. Head counselor Amanda Staples said she started the academic signing day a couple of years ago.
“I said to the counseling staff, ‘I want to do something [after seeing the football] signing day,’” Staples said. “I used to work at other high schools and the [football] signing day wasn’t as big as Tucker’s. So, I asked [the former principal] can I have an academic signing day. I didn’t know what it was going to look like, but I would like to start that.”
Staples said she met with the other school counselors and they worked to put together a signing day event for all seniors who were accepted into college.
“Hopefully, [school principal] Dr. [Eric] Parker will allow us to continue this, and we thank you for allowing us to continue it this year,” she said. “This is our way of saying to the students, ‘Thank you, for your hard work.’”
The program featured a musical selection and poetry reading by students and two keynote speakers, Edward Long from New Birth Missionary Baptist Church and Q Parker from the R&B group 112.
Some of the students announced they will stay in their home state—attending either Albany State University, Georgia State University, Spelman College or the University of Georgia. Sarah Penkava said she signed with UGA because it was the best option for her.
“I didn’t love it the first time I visited, but upon visiting other schools it really became the best option, and it was obvious,” she said. “Financially, my major….it seemed to be a good idea [to sign with Georgia]. I’m very excited.”
Penkava plans to major in international affairs with a minor in business, and a potential double major in journalism. She said it’s unusual for students to have an academic signing day.
“I’m a big fan of Tucker sports. I play two sports here and [athletes] deserve the recognition,” Penkava said. “Football signing day is so big here, but it’s nice to have an academic signing day. It encourages people to work hard throughout all four years. It’s nice for seniors, but I think it’s really nice for the underclassmen to see what you can get if you work hard.”
Some students are going as far west as Louisiana to Louisiana State University, or as far north as Massachusetts to Harvard University. Although it was announced that she is signing with Harvard, Miriam Abrha said she is still deciding between Harvard and John Hopkins University.
“At this point, both schools are really great for my intended profession and major,” Abrha said. “I want to major in public health, so it’s not necessarily academics, it’s more about how I feel about the campus.”
Abrha, who has a 4.35 grade point average, said it’s important to have an academic signing day.
“There is an emphasis on sports and athletics, which is really great, but I like the fact that we are having an emphasis on academics,” she said. “The fact that we’re acknowledging our achievements and where we’re going to go I think boosts morale in students who aren’t student athletes. I think overall it has a positive effect on students.”
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