Surrounded by family, fellow teammates and classmates, their coaches, trainers, and members of the St. Stephen’s community, the three seniors gathered inside Clayton Gym to sign their letters of intent. Athletic Director Jon McCain described Signing Day event as a bittersweet celebration.
“I'm hoping you don't look at this as an ending,” said McCain. “It’s a beginning. The hard work you've put in here – I'm hoping this prepares you for what you're going to do next.”
Associate Athletic Director and Field Hockey Program Head Chelsea Richards shared this about her Varsity Field Hockey captain MK Lutz:
“She puts in hours of work when no one is watching. She takes feedback and applies it to her game and she's passionate about the success of her team. When our squad gathered to celebrate the Hockey seniors this fall, MK’s advice for her teammates really stuck with me. She wrote, ‘Learn from your mistakes, but don't dwell on them. We're all here to play a sport that we love together.’ I wish someone had reminded me of that throughout my collegiate career, because as the stakes were raised, it felt like the blunders were that much bigger. MK and Kayla and Phoebe, I'm here to tell you that you have a lot of mistakes ahead of you, but what you also have is a love for the game, for your team and for your community.”
St. Stephen’s Varsity Soccer Coach Andy Aceves shared this about Phoebe George, who joined the Varsity team as a ninth grader:
“What separates Phoebe from other top class players is her remarkable leadership. Throughout her time at St Stephen's, Phoebe pushes herself to reach the very highest level of club and high school soccer, but she has never once let her individual goals come at the expense of her team. Instead, she strives to be great in service to her teammates. She strives to be great so that her team can be great. As a coach, my job always feels easier when my best players are also my hardest working and most selfless players and for the past four seasons, that is what Phoebe George has given to St Stephen's soccer.
If you've been to any St Stephen's Girls Varsity Games, you'll know that Phoebe's presence is unmissable. She makes her presence known through her work rate, her strong tackles and her vocal leadership. Today is a day of mixed emotions for all of us who know her, because as proud as we are for her accomplishments and as joyful as we feel for the great future that lies ahead of her, we know that she will leave an unfillable void in our program.”
Varsity Head Volleyball Coach and Girls Volleyball Program Manager Juliann Johnson described team captain Kayla Patel as the rock of her Varsity team, and said this about Patel, who led the team in kills over the last two seasons:
“Some of you may know that Kayla tallied her 1000th kill this year – a huge accomplishment in volleyball terms, and it was on senior night at home on her birthday. Kayla’s story is really a story for all of us to learn from. It's a story of resilience, perseverance, beating all odds and belief in oneself. When I first met Kayla, she sat in my office telling me of her big goals and dreams of playing at the next level and even winning an Olympic gold medal.
While I looked at her in total disbelief, I saw something in her eyes that I don't get to see in many others that I get to coach. Kayla has a rare and incredible belief in herself, coupled with being the hardest worker in the room. Her drive and determination keeps her going and she will stop at nothing to achieve all of her goals.”
Learn more about the diverse competitive and recreational St. Stephen’s Athletics programs here