College Signing Day: HHS seniors celebrate next step in education

By HASKEL BURNS,

With less than two weeks until graduation, Hattiesburg High School senior Taytum Terrell has the first part of her post-high school journey mapped out, with plans to pursue a degree in chemistry and play soccer at Troy University in Alabama.

On Friday, Terrell – along with 55 of her fellow seniors – made that ceremonially official with the high school’s inaugural College Signing Day, held at the Buddy Watkins Gymnasium.

“I’m very excited,” Terrell said. “It’s amazing how Hattiesburg has put this together and allowed these opportunities for everybody.

“It’s (great) to see all the people who are graduating and who have scholarships, and the varieties of schools that everybody is going to. So I’m very excited for everybody.”

During signing day, each student walked across the gym floor as their name was called, signing their “letter of intent” with their chosen college. Schools represented at the event included the University of Southern Mississippi, William Carey College, Jones College, Pearl River Community College, Mississippi State and Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

“With the College Countdown initiative that is very popular across the country, we wanted to make sure that we also joined in with that effort in celebrating our students who have gone through their twelve years of school and have decided to go on and continue their education,” said Treenecia Garraway, lead academic counselor at the high school. “I’m very proud of the students who made a decision to participate in this. 

“What it shows is that they’re really thinking about their futures. It also shows that they’ve really been adhering to the things that we’ve been trying to teach and encourage them here, in preparation for their college and career next steps.”

Garraway said while events such as National Signing Day showcase the athletic ambitions of students, College Signing Day is meant to bring awareness to the academic side as well.

“We want to help the students understand that athletics is important – it’s a great part of the high school experience – but academics is really what drives their next steps,” Garraway said. “They have to focus on academics for their next steps.”

For senior Quinn Sellers, that next step includes a stop at Mississippi State University for a 

“I’m pretty excited – this is a really cool thing that Hattiesburg High has done,” Sellers said of College Signing Day. “I’m really proud of (my class). 

“A lot of the students here are on athletic as well as academic scholarships, so that’s really cool.”