On Thursday afternoon at Kennedy High School, players, parents, and coaches filed in to the library to celebrate signing day for two football athletes. A signing day refers to the day that a high school senior can sign a binding letter of intent to play college football with a school. Lenard Walden and Eric Mims received athletic scholarships from Texas College, a historically black institution in Tyler, Texas. Walden will be playing defensive tackle, and Mims will be playing wide receiver and defensive back.
Those in attendance for the signing included administrators and faculty; Principal Roxanne Brown-Garcia gave both the athletes a big hug and spoke about how proud she was of all they had accomplished. The ceremony was brief, but intimate, with just over 50 people and Walden’s close family made sure that their voices were heard. They cheered the loudest when the time came for him to sign the letter of intent and put on his black Texas College cap for the first time.
Both Eric Mims and Lenard Walden will be majoring in psychology in the fall and plan to head down to the school in June for training. “I’ve been to Texas a bunch of times to visit family, but this will be my first time seeing the school,” said Mims. “The heat down there is crazy, so I think that will be the biggest adjustment for me.”
“I’m excited to be on my own, and start handling my business,” said Walden. He found out less than a month ago about his acceptance to Texas College.He was also offered positions on the teams at Utah State, Howard University, and Grambling State University. Mims says that in the meantime, he plans to finish the year strong by staying active and healthy in track and field as well as working with his father doing construction over the summer.
Head football coach George Cumby of Texas College was not in attendance, but made sure to call during the ceremony and congratulate the young men on their decision to attend Texas College in the fall. “This is a big step in your lives and your family’s lives,” said Cumby on speakerphone. “Be ready to work when you get down here, because we are going for that state championship.” Both athletes grinned as soon as Cumby mentioned going to the championship.
“This is about defying the odds and not becoming a statistic,” said Head Coach Mack Carminer of the Kennedy Eagles. “This is a testament to everyone working together to give these young men an opportunity to succeed.”