OPHS athletes sign commitment letters

Senior players participate in Signing Day

April 30, 2021

Flourishing pink and green pens, five Oak Park High School athletes signed pieces of paper in honor of their college commitments. The celebration was held on April 26 and put on by the Athletic Department. 

Seniors Darren Chiu (golf), Felicity Gonzalez (soccer), Faith Hughes (softball), Brooke La Torra (lacrosse), and Vianne Will (water polo) participated in the event, signing for a multitude of sports and colleges. La Torra, who will play lacrosse at Bridgewater State University, expressed her enthusiasm for Signing Day.

“I’m very, very overwhelmingly excited,” La Torra said. “Going to this school and having athletes be celebrated is something super special.”   

La Torra was recruited back in October when she was in Connecticut playing a tournament.

“I drove over to Massachusetts to tour the school and I loved it and really wanted to be part of the program,” La Torra said. “I called the coach right before I got on the airplane and was like, ‘I really want to play for you guys.’”

In a normal year, there are two athletic signing days, with one in the Fall and the other in the Spring. The previous celebrations were held in the College and Career Center at nutrition. Due to COVID-19, the two events were combined into one and moved to the gym foyer. 

“It’s a special day for our athletes and their families,” Athletic Director Tim Chevalier wrote to the Talon. “I just love the smiles and the joy that comes with an opportunity to showcase what they’ve done and where these athletes are headed.”

Chiu will be playing golf at the University of California, Davis. He committed last September. 

“I’ve done this before last November at my own house, but there was no crowd like this,” Chiu said. 

Will signed to California Lutheran University as part of the water polo team. OPHS does not offer any water sports, so Will joined a team outside of school to play. After a year of the recruiting process, she committed to California Lutheran last week.

 “I think I found my home for the next four years,” Will said. “I came to Oak Park because of the academics and how strong it was. I don’t regret that ever. I’m really excited and happy I get to call Oak Park my high school as well as continue with my water polo career and actually still play, even though we don’t have a team. Anything’s possible, and if you work towards it, you can do it!” 

Families, friends and coaches were all present to celebrate the occasion with their student athletes. Applause echoed throughout the foyer as each student’s name was announced.   

“The past year has been a loss of so many things, but to have an opportunity to gather for a short time to celebrate these kids and their next chapter is rewarding and something this AD will never take for granted ever again,” Chevalier wrote. “They have accomplished something they will remember for the rest of their lives. The practices and workouts may seem mundane and tough at times while they’re happening, but one day they will stop, and those opportunities will cease to exist, and nothing but the memories will remain; and they will be GREAT memories.”

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