Four years of sole dedication.The Varsity white letter has always been a huge accomplishment to students who have worked hard to receive it. The letter represents their dedication and helps them stand out amongst the many other athletes at the school.
“The white letter is something that signifies that this is someone above and beyond just receiving a regular varsity letter,” explained Principal Tam Larnerd. “This is a student, from my understanding, that earned a varsity letter all four years and when they have done that, that is a pretty rare thing to be a four year letter-man or letter-woman.”
Larnerd said that colleges notice students who have received the white letter or devoted their time and efforts to athletics. According to Sports Administrator Gregory Stack, the letter shows diversity if they earned it from being in three different varsity sports in one year and it shows commitment if they get the letter from being in one varsity sport for four years.
“The four years I have been on the school tennis team have been a blast,” said Christopher Zimmerman, a white letter holder for men’s tennis. “Making varsity my first year was definitely a struggle because tennis was still a pretty new sport to me. With the guidance of my coaches, I was able to earn my varsity letter for all four years, which is a huge accomplishment for me.”
The lettering system starts with a blue letter that is given to varsity athletes for playing the sport all year without any setbacks, and is pinned with a symbol of their sport to honor their time on that varsity team. Each additional year, students are given a gold bar to add on to their letter, a symbol of another year of dedication.
Students can get more than one pin if they play more than one varsity sport. But white letters can only be awarded to a student if they have played varsity for all four years, or spent an entire school year playing varsity sports from fall to spring.
Students always grind all day every day, work in, work out. They juggle six hours of school, one to four hours of practice for their sport, their outside of school life, and show immense levels of gratitude through their dedication to push themselves to their ultimate limits .
“Commitment is a huge factor,” said William Hemberger, Athletic Director. “Students tend to get burnt out or feel as though their sport might take up too much of their time. They have to be dedicated and have to have a talent that is special for them to get the white letter.”
Many students agreed that they couldn’t have recieved their white letter without the support of someone close.
Myra Tatitan, a white letter athlete for women’s basketball, said that her dad and former coaches pushed her to keep going, even when she was worn out. If it wasn’t for them and her circle of friends that encourage her to push through, she might have not even been in the sport.
“The white letter currently means that I played a sport for 4 years and know that I worked hard to get it and that it will look good for college,” said Tatitan.
White letter varsity wrestler, Jesse Diaz, said that his first two years being in wrestling were challenging. He had to get used to going against guys who were bigger than him and more experienced. At the end of his sophomore year he learned to get used to it and ended up building himself up. When a referee called a violation on Diaz his sophomore year at regional championships that took his winning streak away, he pushed through and ended up on top with a white letter that was pinned with his sport and three bars to signify his four years in the sport.
“I remember when I was a freshman sitting in the banquet and a few seniors got a nice white letter that made me want one,” said Diaz. “Now that I’m a senior receiving my own, it feels great and I feel accomplished because not everyone gets one.”