Oak Park High School seniors sign National Letters of Intent

A new adventure lies ahead for Derica Chiu and Karlee White


Oak Park Athletics

Senior Derica Chiu committed to Emory University in Georgia for her performance in golf and senior Karlee White is headed to Harvard University for her excellence in basketball. The two girls reflect on their athletic careers and discuss their feelings about their next four years.

The selection process can be challenging as there are a variety of excellent four-year universities across the country looking for premier athletic talent. Chiu had her own factors when considering what university to sign to.

“I chose Emory because I wanted a balance of excellent academics and athletics. I went to visit Emory over a weekend in September and I really loved it. I met their whole team and they made me feel so welcomed,” Chiu wrote. 

photo by Hayden Lynch

White had her own criteria in mind when choosing what university to attend. White had received offers from many other schools yet she chose Harvard for her own reasons. White had verbally committed to Harvard on Sept. 16.

“I did not apply to Harvard until I verbally committed to play there for the next four years. Harvard was a school that I personally never thought I would go to or even have the opportunity to go to until recently. I chose Harvard because it gave me everything that I needed. It gave me an education that will set me and my family up for life. The women’s basketball program feels like family to me and makes me feel beyond comfortable to move there,” White wrote. 

Chiu has an extensive background of playing golf. She has played in many junior national tournaments. Ever since she joined the team, she has excelled on the team, being a key player for the excellent Oak Park Girls’ Golf program. 

“I have been playing golf since I was ten years old and I have been on the Oak Park Golf Team for all four years of high school. I want to pursue going into film and media management as a concentration and also possibly marketing in Emory’s Goizueta Business school,” wrote Chiu.

White has been dribbling the ball on the basketball court since she was young, but it took some time for her to take her talent a little more seriously. White played at Viewpoint where she led the team to a Division one CIF championship, dropping a high school career high of 37 points in the championship round. 

“I have been playing basketball since I was 9 years old but I never took it seriously until the summer going into my 7th-grade year. I am a transfer student this year so I have been playing at Viewpoint my last three years of high school,” White wrote.

Chiu discusses the complexity of such a big commitment for a four-year university that is so distant from Oak Park. 

“I am ready to experience a new independence and play for the team, but I know I am going to miss home and my family so much,” Chiu wrote. 

During the recruitment process, White took a visit to Harvard to tour the campus and women’s basketball facilities. This visit played a significant factor in her choice to join the Harvard Women’s Basketball Program. 

“At first I was pretty scared to leave my family and my best friend. But after visiting Harvard I couldn’t be more excited to take on a new journey and experience real weather changes and just the shift in cultures,” White wrote.

Both girls show incredible passion and talent when it comes to their sports and are extremely excited and nervous to take on this new unfamiliar adventure that lies ahead of them. Chiu will be majoring in Film and Media Management while also playing on the golf team at Emory. White is looking into the possibility of concentrating on Business and Sociology while also playing on the basketball team at Harvard.