It was a spectacle that hasn’t been seen in some time, or maybe ever. Media lined up inside Placer High School’s theater waiting for one young man to pick up a hat.
The courtship of Placer High senior football player Eddie Vanderdoes by the household names of college football has been something to behold for this foothill community, and the 18-year-old handled it with class – even when his moment was interrupted for live TV.
But Vanderdoes’ selection of Notre Dame to play college football was the figurative cherry on top to what is a special time for all local high school athletes blessed with the skills and talent to be able to move on to the next level. Let’s not forget there were three other student athletes on that stage – Stone Sander (headed to Sacramento State), Peter Denham (Northern Arizona) and Hannah Gregg (Sonoma State).
Each one of those students worked just as hard as Vanderdoes, and each one reaped the rewards of their hard work. The Hill wasn’t the only place where young athletes got to further their athletic endeavors. Del Oro High had its share of signees and throughout Placer County, fax machines were getting a workout.
Kudos to these athletes and all their hard work that earned them the privilege of having some, or all, of their higher education paid for and continuing their sports careers.
But while we praise these highly visible students in our community, we must not forget those whose names we do not know, but are achieving just as important a feat — even if the video cameras aren’t lining up to see them reach their dreams.
There are the students who earn scholarships in math, science, English, music, drama and many other areas that don’t require a ball, stick or club – and in some cases are even tougher to achieve. Praise should be given to these students who dedicate the long hours in the classroom and in private study, where no one is cheering them on – except for mom and dad.
Let’s not forget to praise the support systems of the young men and women in our community who are working to reach the next level in life, both on the field and in the classroom. Thanks must be given to the moms and dads that have gotten up before the sun to get their kids to the practice fields and gyms. Or to the parents who patiently sit up with their children, helping them through their homework and finding the right tutor to help bridge the gap. And let’s not forget the costs, for sports and non-sports parents alike. Special tutors, college application fees, lessons, college loans, sports camps, traveling, etc., etc. – the lists of costs goes on and on.
Of course there are those outside the home that help these young scholars and athletes achieve their potential and goals. To the teachers and coaches who spend countless hours helping students excel, to the counselors who help them stay on the right path, we thank you.
It’s a great time for this community’s teens as one chapter of their lives comes to a close in the next few months, and an exciting new one begins.
We’ll be watching and rooting you on.