By Dr. Paul Barker
A photo from February 2013 made me smile this weekend. The picture is of three seniors and me, all lookin' swell in our bow ties.
The occasion was a National Letter of Intent signing breakfast, something we celebrate a few times each year. We recognize athletic gifts, years of preparation and dedication, and the support of family, coaches, teachers, and peers that have resulted in a college athletic opportunity. Moms and Dads can't get enough of the picture taking on such a proud day. Honor, prestige, and, mercifully, financial relief.
What athletic potential will yield in four or five years is, of course, unknowable at the time of signing. Student-athletes head to college wondering: Did I pick the right school? Will my skills measure up? Will I stay injury-free? Will the coach and I get along? Will our team be a winner? Will I get a chance to lead? Will I be able to manage the workload?
We are now at the time of year when each senior is asking similar questions. Days remaining at Good Counsel are few; students know the tally. Many things vie for attention. Prom is in the rear-view mirror. IB exams started last Friday, and AP exams are just around the corner. Senior Retreat is at the end of this week. Playoffs draw near for spring athletes. Maybe there's even been a family conversation about where to go for lunch after graduation.
And by tomorrow, students pondering multiple acceptances must decide which college it's going to be. It's time for movin' on. And, no matter how well we prepare, none of us knows just how it's all going to turn out.
The NFL draft was held this past weekend. That's what made me smile. For three Falcons, five years on from graduation, things have turned out very well.
In the photo, Kendall Fuller is on the left. Kendall went to Virginia Tech, was drafted two years ago by the Redskins, and was recently traded to the Kansas City Chiefs. Next is Andre Levrone who played at Virginia and was picked up as an undrafted free agent by the Baltimore Ravens. And, on the right is Dorian O'Daniel, winner of a College Football National Championship while at Clemson, and drafted with Pick #100 by the Chiefs.
Back in 2013, these young men were undeniably full of promise. Still, knowing how many things have to go right if you're going to make it to the top, you would have gotten long odds on all three of this bow tie brigade making it to the pros. They made it!
As we bring this year to a close, I pray for the unknowable futures of the Class of 2018. And I hope that some years down the road I will look at photos from their GC days that make me smile in recognition of dreams fulfilled.