Athletic Signing Days are nothing new to Immokalee. Football, for example, is celebrated and respected throughout the community. It was something that got Collier County Public Schools (CCPS) thinking. It was great to celebrate the district’s most accomplished athletes, but why not recognize students who excel academically, too? So a few years back, CCPS implemented a new kind of signing day, an Academic Signing Day, to celebrate the success of its scholars.
One of the individuals recognized this year was Noe Vega from Immokalee High School (IHS). “It feels very good, very encouraging knowing that my hard work has finally paid off and it’s being recognized,” shares Vega.
Vega is choosing to head to St. Johns University in the fall to study Psychology, which he plans to use toward a career in criminal justice. “From a young age, I was always amazed by how police officers, and anyone in the criminal justice field, would go out of their way to help people who need it most. They’re always there when you need them.”
It’s that ‘service toward others’ which led him to pursue a career in his field of choice. He also gives credit to his mom for his motivation, “Being raised by a single mother, I really saw the hard work that she put in and it made me value my education a lot. I used that motivation to keep going, doing the best that I could do.”
IHS Principal Clara Calderon explains that this year’s Academic Signing Day (which was held Monday, May 6) celebrated the school’s seniors who have earned acceptance letters to colleges and universities. “Acknowledging and recognizing all of the hard work that everyone – from the students to the school to the families – have put in is just an amazing feeling. We have students who are the first in their families to graduate from high school, let alone head to college, and I couldn’t be more proud.”