By: Evan Chase
At 7A.M., the morning of February 7th, two Valencia High School seniors officially committed to play division one and three sports at the college level. The families of Kelli Van Dam and Emily Salazar, coaches, administration, as well as reporters from Tiger Tube, gathered to witness the signing on Wednesday.
This event was a part of National Signing Day. Typically held on the first Wednesday in the month of February, National Signing Day is the first day that a high school senior is encouraged to sign a binding National Letter of Intent for a collegiate sport with a school that is a member of the United States National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Van Dam and Salazar qualified for this program by demonstrating exceptional athletic and academic ability. Requirements for qualification include taking 16 core academic classes and achieving above-average scores on both the SAT and ACT.
“It is wonderful to see two hardworking students, in the classroom and on the field, be recognized today. Both of these young ladies greatly deserve the accolades they are receiving due to their dedication and perseverance both academically and athletically,” said Elizabeth Nasouf, who is the counselor for both of the students.
Van Dam, who has been playing lacrosse since second grade, officially signed to play the sport at the University of New England, Maine. From there, she plans to begin working towards a major in Nursing. Last year, Valencia’s girls’ lacrosse team managed to place 3rd in league. In an interview, Van Dam stated that her favorite part of the sport is the team aspect. Coach John Van Dam, who is also her father, aims to win league and make the playoffs this year.
Salazar has been playing softball for 12 years and signed to play for California State University Long Beach (CSULB), Wednesday morning. She plans on majoring in Kinesiology. Currently, Salazar is the shortstop for the Valencia’s softball team. The ladies on her team experienced some big changes last year. With a new head coach, the team successfully made it to the second round in CIF.
Principal Olivia Yaung congratulates both students on their achievements and is confident they will both represent Valencia well in the future, “Once a tiger, always a tiger.”