By Damali Ramirez ’18
After four years of hard work, dedication, sweat, and memories, Matthew Thomas ’18 and Joseph Halasy ’18 ended their high school football journey with a final touchdown. The two Hornets revealed the colleges they have chosen to continue playing football for in a ceremony held in room 155 on National Signing Day (December 20, 2017).
Thomas signed with Rutgers University and Halasy with the University of Albany.
It is not the first time the school’s football players have received scholarships. However, it is the first time a college signing day ceremony has taken place.
Seven of the ten coaches, most of the football team, friends, family, teachers, and students attended the ceremony to show their support. Thomas kicked off the
ceremony with a speech thanking his mother, coaches, teammates, friends, cousins, uncles, and aunts for believing in him and supporting him. Halasy followed up by also
thanking his mother, father, younger brother Jason, his girlfriend, friends, and coaches for sticking by his side. Mr. Anthony Odita, AP of physical education and coach of the boy’s varsity football team, stated, “I felt really proud of them. [These are] two boys that worked hard to have good grades and work hard to be good players. We were glad
to see all their hard work pay off.”
Sports journalist Dan Serafin from News 12 stated hat Brooklyn football players don’t often get signed, but it isn’t unheard of. The ceremony happened the same day he was covering a story on eight football players from Erasmus Hall High School signing with colleges.
Both Thomas and Halasy joined the football team their freshman year and joined the varsity team during their sophomore year. Halasy started playing football at the age of four, and Thomas first started playing his freshman year because Mr. Odita encouraged him to join the team. When they first joined the team, they had a record of 4-6. This year, the team powered to semi-finals and ended their season with an impressive 9-2 record.
Thomas said picking a college wasn’t difficult because he wanted to stay close to home.
“The first offer I got was from Temple and that was around the summer,” he said. In total, Thomas received nine offers from colleges such as Stony Brook, University of Maine, Wake Forest, Lehigh University, Towson College and other schools.
Halasy received offers from schools such as Sacred Heart and Rhode Island, but chose UAlbany after a final visit during the first week of December.
“I was extremely excited because it was at the time of the college process. So I was like, ‘oh my god what am I going to do,’ and next thing I know, I get a call from Sacred Heart University for a full scholarship. I was ecstatic, you know, I was like crying,” he said.
Throughout the ceremony, the coaches emphasized to other players that getting a scholarship like Thomas and Halasy is possible if they work hard for it and prioritize being a student.
“The one thing that I try to tell the boys is that getting a scholarship is not easy. A lot of things are out of their control. Sometimes a college, they want you to be a certain height, a certain weight, have a certain amount of speed.
A lot of that is out of their control. But what is in your control is get good grades, work hard, be approachable. So focus on those and you’ll have opportunities,” said Mr. Odita.
Both Thomas and Halasy plan on majoring in business in college. Thomas wants to focus on business and administration and minor in finance. He also wants to attend graduate school in hopes of getting a steady job in the future.
“Hopefully I can make it to the NFL. That’s the dream, but it’s not my main priority,” he said. Halasy, however, wants to attend trade school in plumbing and open his own plumbing business called “Dirty Hal’s Plumbing”.
Jonathan Mezhibovsky ’18, a close friend of Halasy, attended the ceremony to show his support.
“I hope Joe gets whatever it is he’s working at,” Mezhibovsky stated. “Ever since seventh grade, Joe has been like my brother and I’ve seen for myself when he wants to accomplish a goal, he won’t stop until he does. That’s just going to make him into a better college football player and maybe even an NFL player one day.”
Those who attended the ceremony were invited to a reception of drinks and snacks afterward. Thomas’s and Halasy’s mothers ended the celebration with a speech encouraging next year’s team to work hard so that next year, they could be the ones getting signed.