The Habersham School is one of the smallest in the area with just 100 students in the high school portion of the institution.
But on Wednesday, the Patriot athletic department hit the big time with a pair of athletes signing letters of intent with Division I college programs.
Volleyball player Jordan Christy signed to play at Georgia Southern in a lunchtime ceremony on campus, and swimmer Sam Parker signed with Georgia at a ceremony at the Chatham Aquatic Center later in the afternoon.
Christy was a star outside hitter for the Patriots and helped lead Habersham to three straight GAPPS state titles and four state championships in the last five years in a division consisting of small private schools.
“This day is a relief for me and takes the pressure off my shoulders,” Christy said. “And it’s a moment of realization that I’m going to continue playing the sport I love in college.”
An ‘A’ student, Christy plans to major in exercise science. She said her experience at Habersham has been excellent.
“It’s such a great school and coach (Susan) Barry has helped me so much on and off the court,” Christy said. “She’s a life mentor, and she got my name out there so colleges knew about me.”
Barry said Christy has been a great representative of what Habersham is all about.
“She helped her teammates gain confidence by showing them what she can do on the court,” Barry said. “She was always willing to help and made our team believe in itself. She recently moved from setter to outside hitter on her club team and she has a lot of room to improve. She is going to be an excellent player at Georgia Southern.”
Habersham senior Sam Parker has been another Patriot success story. He has been training under former Olympic bronze medalist Bill Forrester on the Georgia Coastal Aquatic team since he started grade school and has blossomed into one of the top swimmers in the state.
In February, Parker won three events for the Patriots at the GAPPS state meet – taking the 50-yard freestyle, 100 free and 200 free titles. It was the third straight year he won three events at the state high school meet.
“Signing with Georgia is going to be a culmination of 13 years of swimming and reaching a lifelong goal of swimming for a Division I program,” Parker said in a phone interview Tuesday night. “It’s amazing to be able to live out my dreams like this.”
Parker also excels in the classroom, maintaining a 4.26 GPA taking advanced placement classes. He plans to move on to medical school after graduating from Georgia.
The signing ceremony at the pool where he put in so much work to get where he is today will be even more special for Parker and his family as his grandfather, Jimmy Parker, is making the trip from Ludowici to see Sam officially become a Bulldog.
Jimmy Parker, 86, graduated from UGA, where he played baseball and basketball.
“I had to keep the family tradition going,” Sam Parker said. “My grandfather is very excited. He tries to get to as many of my meets as he can, and it will be great when he gets to see me swim at Georgia.”