Seniors Bask in Spotlight During
Academic Signing Days at Cedar Grove and Tucker High Schools
When you think of “signing days,” you probably think of the special occasions reserved for student-athletes. A time when they declare which college they’ll play for, as they sign letters of intent and don that school’s hat with broad smiles, surrounded by family, coaches, and school staff.
Using these celebrations as a template, Cedar Grove High School and Tucker High School also added their own twist by holding Academic Signing Day events. Graduating seniors had their moment to publicly bask in their academic success in the classroom and commemorate their college of choice.
For Cedar Grove High, it was their second annual signing day and was conducted in the school’s cafeteria. In all, 34 students decorated a table with school items from their chosen college, which mirrored the school’s set-up for its National Signing Day for football players.
Mr. Clifton Spears said that one of his goals when he became the principal, was to recognize and celebrate all students’ academic and athletic accomplishments.
“I want to recognize our students who come to school every day, work hard, get good grades, and have made that next step to go to college,” said Principal Spears.
Tucker High School has been doing an Academic Signing Day for a few years and began after the counseling department requested one for non-athletic students. It initially took place in the school’s auditorium, but it was held in the gymnasium this year to celebrate the 55 graduating seniors attending college or serving in the military.
“This is one of our signature events every year. As we spend the last part of the semester for the seniors to the weeks leading up to graduation, it is always great to celebrate them, recognize their academic achievements, and find out where they’re going the next four years,” said Tucker Principal Dr. Eric Parker. “I know we do a lot here at Tucker High School to celebrate our athletic signings, but we wanted to do something—through the vision of the counselors—to celebrate students who aren’t athletes and are going to college.”
Cedar Grove’s 2023 valedictorian Miracle Jerome signed with Georgia Southern University (GSU) and will major in sustainability science. She said she chose GSU because of the school’s diversity and location. It didn’t hurt that it was the only college offering her a full academic ride.
“I’m mostly excited about finding my groove and figuring out where I fit best,” said Miracle. “I like dancing, and there are a lot of extracurricular activities that I can get into. They have a wildlife center, and with my major, it will be good to work there.”
Tucker senior Ellis Bryant is heading to Tuskegee University and plans to major in business administration and finance. He said he chose Tuskegee because it’s close to home, one of the nation’s top Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and he felt welcomed there during one of his visits.
“I’m looking forward to the whole college experience—education, meeting new people, enjoying the campus, and having a good time,” said Ellis.
Not only is Academic Signing Day an opportunity to celebrate students, but it is also geared to motivate freshmen, sophomores, and juniors. Part of the reason why Tucker moved its ceremony to the gym is that more of the underclassmen can see the accomplishments of the seniors.
“We want them to see how hard work in the classroom pays off,” said Dr. Parker.
“I think it’s going to motivate our students,” said Principal Spears. “We will recognize our juniors in the fall with a half-cap ceremony. I think it’s important to celebrate our students and continue pushing them to that final day, graduation.”
Miracle and Ellis appreciated their schools’ efforts to celebrate students with the signing days.
“I think this is a really special day because a lot of focus is put on students who sign athletic scholarships, and I feel like having a signing day for regular students like me and other people who are going to college is important as well,” said Miracle.
“I didn’t know it was going to be this big,” said Ellis. “It’s inspiring to have everyone here and celebrate us. It’s a good thing.”