Gratitude Speeches Introduced at NLI Signing Day

All the seniors get ready for their signing ceremony.

11 student athletes at Campolindo gathered outside in the quad at lunch for the NCAA’s national Fall signing day on November 10. These students signed letters of intent for colleges of their choice, keeping true to the yearly tradition for students that commit to play their sports at a collegiate level.

Athletic Director Ray Meadows facilitated the event, starting the ceremony off with a short speech congratulating the athletes for their accomplishments leading them to sign their letters of intent. Meadows then went down the row of athletes, noting each individual’s personal feats and allowing them to share a short speech giving thanks to those who have contributed to their athletic journey.

Senior Ben Larsen, who committed to UCLA for water polo, said, “I think [NLI] was a lot more organized and they let us do speeches this time and usually they haven’t done that in the past, which I thought was really cool.”

Meadows mentioned he was a part of the decision to add student speeches to the event, and noted he worked closely with Campolindo’s leadership class. “We wanted to shift the focus on our athletes and allow them to have a chance to have a voice and to be able to thank those in the community who have helped them get to where they’ve gotten.”

Meadows also noted getting positive feedback from the student athletes recognized.

Senior Amber Van Meines, who committed to the Harvard swim team, appreciated listening to each athletes’ speeches and said, “It was nice to hear other athletes talk about everything they went through with their process and what they had to do to get to where they are.” This was not a feature of previous years’ signing days.

Senior Danielle Defrancisci, who committed to the UCLA rowing team, also noted the turnout of the outside event. “It was nice to have a lot of people there to support me and all my fellow [commits].

“I think we had a lot more kids this year than any other year,” said Van Meines. “[Signing day] was really nice. It’s been a tradition for a long time. When I was a freshman I got to see my teammates who are seniors go for signing day and it was always really exciting, and I’m thankful for everything that [Meadows] did to put that together. Because it was really nice to have that for the kids in our grade.”

Larsen said, “I felt good knowing my parents were in the crowd because obviously without them, none of [this] would be possible. It was cool to have my teammates there too, supporting me.”

“It felt really nice to be appreciated by the school,” Van Meines said.

Athletes in attendance of the ceremony included: Aidan Mahaney (St. Mary’s College), Annie Cimperman (UC Davis), Ben Larsen (UCLA), Sara Tabibian (Colgate), Amber Van Meines (Harvard), Danielle DeFrancisci (UCLA), Angela Devine (UCLA), Maggie Hawkins (Stanford), Emma Bustamante (Westmont College), Colbie Atlas (UMass Boston), and Lexie Fok (Pepperdine).