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  • Writer's pictureShane Stewart

McKinley High band students hold special signing day.

The excitement of National Signing Day, when players across the country choose where they will take their talents, is well-known.

On Monday, April 26, three McKinley High School seniors signed their names on the dotted line for a different kind of play.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Caleb Landry.

The three students and members of the Big Blue Band signed their letters of intent to play at the next level. Jeremiah Vaughn and Trenton Cox committed to Southern University and Caleb Landry will attend Bowie State University.

Band director Allen Sharlow said their accomplishments are truly special after a year riddled by COVID-19.

“Adjusting to COVID was definitely a task,” said Sharlow. “Ultimately, we had to continue to try to use the same regimen I would use, except in a virtual setting.”

He said all three students attended school virtually the entire year but still managed to collect more than $220,000 in scholarships while juggling everything that was thrown at them. “They’ll practice eight hours a day sometimes. Especially band camp, we might start at 6 a.m. but we might not finish until 6 p.m. During football season, we’ll start at 3 p.m. and might not go home until 8 or 9,” Sharlow explained.

For Cox, he said this year was a challenge.

“With COVID, I had to go virtual, I couldn’t go to school, and it threw my whole schedule off,” he noted. “So, I had to divide between work, baseball, school, and band to get where I am this year.”

Vaughn said he ran into the same problem but he’s glad his hard work paid off.

“I had to make sure I stayed on my horn at home, practice diligently, and making sure I had my skills up to par so I can make sure I’ll be ready for this next step in life,” Vaughn explained.

Sharlow said often times the band can get overlooked and that’s why he’s glad these kids got the recognition they deserved.

“A day like today really just makes my heart smile because all of that work and all of that time really paid off,” Sharlow added.

Each of the kids said they’re excited for the fall semester. Sharlow said he hopes next year’s seniors can top this year’s scholarship amount.

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