WHS National Signing Day
Feb. 3, Waller High School (WHS) celebrated senior athletes who signed letters of intent on National Signing Day. Family and friends gathered to recognize the achievements of six seniors at a special ceremony held at Waller ISD (WISD) Stadium. Each student signed their letters committing to play for their college for at least one year. Head Football Coach and WISD Athletic Coordinator Gene Johnson introduced each student and allowed them to speak about their recruiting process and plans.
“To me, today is a big day because each one of these students has so much potential,” Johnson said. “It’s awesome to see them continue their education and athletic careers. We watch them grow and then help push them out of the nest but they will always be a part of Waller ISD.”
Luke Erwin will be heading to Simpson College where he will play football. Erwin began playing in 7th grade and was fully committed to developing his skills. Coaches from Simpson have already begun working with Erwin and have developed a strength and conditioning workout regimen.
“I’m excited and nervous, I’ve never been so far from home,” Erwin said. “I’ll miss my friends, community, and Friday night.”
Augustus (Gus) Rice joined WISD in first grade and began playing football. After having his pick from nine offers, Rice decided to attend Columbia University in New York City. He chose the school due to its student support system, his love of the institution, and the uniforms. Rice plans to study biology following the pre-med track.
“I am looking forward to going to New York City,” Rice said. “When I was looking at school, I asked myself if I could see myself living and learning on that campus, and Columbia was it for me.”
Mason Stewart has attended WISD since kindergarten and has been playing football since the age of five for a total of 13 years. Stewart signed his letter of intent with the University of Mary Hardin Baylor. He received the offer after his former coach and current WISD Athletic Director Jim Philips put in a good word with the university’s recruiters. Stewart is a multi-sport athlete but decided to focus on football because of the opportunities it presented.
“I’m excited, not everyone gets an opportunity like this,” Stewart said. “I will miss the community and love everyone has for each other in Waller.”
Stormey Stringer originally signed her letter with Blinn College in November 2020 to play soccer. Stringer moved to WISD her sophomore year and only began playing soccer two years ago. She found her love for the game after playing several other sports for years and then wanting to try something new. Stringer decided to attend a junior college to help ease her into the experience of playing while attending college. She plans to major in education.
“I am so ready,” Stringer said. “I was not expecting this since I only began playing two years ago, but coaches at Blinn have really made me feel at home and I look forward to this next step.”
Eddy Toussom has signed to play football at Navarro College after transferring from Brenham ISD this past year. Toussom began playing football in 7th grade and truly found a passion for it in 8th grade. He first learned of the opportunity with Navarro after coaches reached out to speak with him. Toussom is majoring in nursing and looks forward to putting in the work to achieve his goals.
“I’m nervous,” Toussom said. “This is a really big day, and I will be going off soon and leaving everyone but I am happy for the opportunity to pursue my education and continue playing football.”
Caleb Walter committed to playing football at Dakota State University. Walter began playing at the age of six and moved to WISD in the 6th grade. When introducing his family, Walter fondly spoke of how his brother taught him everything he knew about football and his family’s support. Walter plans to study business at Dakota State.
“I feel good about my decision,” Walters said. “My family would like me to stay in Texas but I’m looking forward to attending Dakota State.”
The WHS football and girls soccer teams, including some junior high students, were present for the ceremony to cheer on their teammates but also learn from their experiences. Johnson focused on the importance of leaning on the support of family and coaches and putting in the work academically. WHS Principal Stephanie Fletcher also highlighted the work she has seen each student put in to reach their goals, such as Rice developing a life-plan in elementary and watching Stewart give up weekends to practice.
“These kids have been working hard since before high school,” Fletcher said. “I want students in junior high and high school to know that this can be them one day if they focus and put in the effort.”