I remember my senior year, or lack thereof.
Thanks to being on work program, most of my school days ended before noon. I was hardly on campus enough to even have a school ID. I only had a few required classes and one of them began before first period, so I was in and out by the time most kids finished sleepwalking through the morning.
I basically did not have a senior year, but never missed it at the time.
Now, I do; especially after watching Cory Scott make the absolute most of his.
The Copperas Cove senior started the season with a singular dream – to help the Bulldawgs reach the playoffs. He accomplished so much more.
After failing to reach the postseason since 2008, Scott helped Copperas Cove end the four-year drought by leading the Bulldawgs to a four-game, season-ending winning streak that included a buzzer-beating 3-pointer by Montre’ Williams in overtime of the District 8-5A finale against Shoemaker.
Prior to that, however, Scott secured his future by becoming the first player in program history to sign a letter of intent to a Division I school by committing to Stephen F. Austin.
He was named the district’s offensive player of the year, landed on the KDHpressbox.com All-Area first team and averaged 24.3 points per game.
Most would be content to call that a pretty impressive senior season, but Scott was just starting.
At the district track meet, he was suddenly thrust back into a position he felt was behind him, agreeing to participate in the high jump on the day of the event. He broke his own school record, clearing 7 feet on his very first jump after not practicing in approximately a year.
The leap altered Scott’s destiny.
Four meets later, Scott was crowned the Class 5A state champion in the event, producing another 7-foot leap. Not only did the performance earn him a gold medal, it also garnered some unexpected attention from some distinguished observers.
Large colleges began showing interest in Scott for his high-jumping ability, but he was convinced he wanted to play basketball regardless of where he ended up, although he was willing to participate strictly in track if the right offer presented itself.
Luckily for Scott, it did not come to that because Texas Tech’s track coaches showed film of him to Red Raiders head basketball coach Tubby Smith, who was impressed enough to offer the Bulldawg a full-ride scholarship, which Scott accepted.
In a matter of weeks, Scott went from being fully committed to Stephen F. Austin to possibly not playing collegiate basketball at all to receiving a basketball scholarship with a Big 12 program.
Needless to say, it is an amazing story, and while Scott recently completed one of the more unique senior seasons I have encountered, many other soon-to-be graduates share his story of striving for success.
Countless kids around the area, state and country spent their senior years doing everything in their power to put themselves in a position to be prosperous after high school in whatever field they found interest in. They put forth extra effort in the classroom, limited time spent with friends and committed themselves to doing extracurricular activities in order to be even more appealing to various colleges and universities.
They made all the sacrifices I did not when I was in high school, and when they walk the stage, they will have much to be proud of. While I was simply celebrating the fact I never had to return to school, so many kids will meaningfully enjoy the moment because it represents the all the hard work they put in during their high school careers.
I hope kids learn from Scott and others like him, realizing anything is possible if they dedicate themselves and put themselves in a position to succeed.
It’s a lesson I learned well after high school, and my wasted opportunities to better myself at a younger age haunt me to this day.
Contact Clay Whittington at firstname.lastname@example.org