Coronado welcomes activities participants into Signing Day ceremonies

(Dan Mohrmann/

COLORADO SPRINGS — Signing day at Coronado didn't look too out of the ordinary. Maybe with one small exception. There were a lot of kids at the table.

Not that too many kids is unordinary. But Coronado's ceremony bordered on unique for one very reason. The Cougars were tired of not celebrating the kids going to college for something other than athletics. So for this year - and probably from here on out - the Cougars gathered everyone. Their athletes and their activities driven kids and celebrated them all as they committed to collegiate programs to continue doing the very things they love to do.

"Why not," Coronado athletic director Jimmy Porter said. "It's a push from our school. We're know for our performing arts programs. When we can celebrate kids we want to celebrate kids. It's cool to bring more people here as well. The more the merrier."

It's certainly a change of pace from the everyday signing ceremony.

In the same ceremony where football coach Monte Gutowski and basketball coach David Thomas got to brag about the achievements of their athletes who will be furthering their careers in college, theater director Erin Ambroz got to boast about the achievement of her drama students and the great things they plan on doing after high school.

It was a day where drama, visual arts, choir and music stood on the same stage as football, basketball and girls volleyball. It was certainly something all the kids will remember.

"It's enjoyable and it feels good to be up there and to be honored," Jackson Schaeffer said.

Shaeffer is heading to Tulane where he will be a member of the band next fall. His path to college wasn't based on his ability to score a touchdown or knock down a 3-pointer. He's going there because of his passion for jazz.

"We had an exceptional music program," he added. "I think that's been shown with all the people that are up here. For all of us, it feels good to be up here with all the other activities who have also worked hard and earned a spot up here."

It's a pivotal moment for Coronado students and for activities-driven students in Colorado.

It's a subtle gesture from the school that all students should be celebrated for what they're accomplishing through the year and for what they will beyond their time at Coronado. This is a simple ceremony that will make the school come closer together.

"This is what helps create community," Thomas said. "It's not just athletics that are getting promoted, it's all of our programs that are getting students sent off to do amazing things. Kids are going off to play football and basketball, but they're also going to Tulane and DePaul and schools like that. It's special. We're creating a community where we want to support each other not just in the classroom, but outside of it."