Palm Desert High School holds their official signing day, recognizing three student-athletes.
Starting with, Caroline Wales who is going to the University of Kansas to play women’s golf.
“I picked the University of Kansas because it was just overall an amazing fit for me. The athletic programs, specifically the women’s golf team is just going to help me take my game to the next level, and I can’t wait to have the full college experience.”
Her parents are of course, very proud of her and attribute Caroline’s success to her independence and determination.
“I am super proud of Caroline,” says her father, Mike Wales.” It’s all her, we are not golfers, she’s 100%, the golfer and she’s made it happen. She called all the colleges, she researched them, emailed coaches constantly called them constantly. This is all product of her hard work and dedication.”
Next up, is Grant Kelly, who will be attending Cal State Fullerton and joining the Titan baseball program as a pitcher. He is excited, to say the least.
“I’m ecstatic, I just can’t wait to get out there and get after it. They have such a great program over there. I’m really looking forward to being with the coaches and with the guys. Cal State Fullerton was just the best option for me, just from when I went there on my visit, that really just sold it for me.”
Grant’s parents are extremely proud of their son and believe that he will succeed in Orange County.
“We’re extremely proud of him,” says Grant’s father, Mike Kelly. “Especially because of his work ethic, his commitment to getting and being excellent in what he does. It’s been fun to watch him grow from a young man into a man. ”
Grant’s mother, Jackie Kelly knows that her son will achieve his wildest dreams. “Just all his hard work, his focus and dedication and realizing that he has a vision and a dream. I believe with Grant’s dedication, he will pursue it.”
Last but certainly not least, is Benjamin Braun. Ben is a middle blocker going to THE Ohio State University. Ben is excited to be joining the legendary Buckeyes’ men’s volleyball program.
“I think just as soon as I got there, I fell in love with Columbus and you know, the campus and the facilities are just top grade. They’re clean, and really well organized, so I’m looking forward to being there.”
What makes Ben’s journey different, is that he is not apart of Palm Desert High School’s athletic programs. The Aztecs do not have a boy’s volleyball team, so to pursue his athletic career, Ben had to travel quite a bit to play boy’s club volleyball.
“Two hours away, in Lake Forest and Orange County. I think that was something that really, you know, helped me out in front of the process is just getting better until your center of attention.”
Ben’s father, Chris Braun, is a former collegiate and professional volleyball player himself, and although he never pushed Ben or his sister to play volleyball, Braun and his wife have been supportive and proud parents throughout Ben’s journey.
“We’re really proud of Benjamin and I think he was very lucky here in the Coachella Valley that he has a group of what we call “The Volleyball Godfathers” that helped him quite a bit. It really helped Benjamin come along and develop an interest in the sport. Then the rest of it was, you know, just Benjamin and him his hard work and just doing the best that he could do.”
Palm Desert high school’s athletic director, Darol Salazar is immensely proud of these student-athletes and how they represent the Aztecs.
“It’s a big day for us. It’s a day that we celebrate because these kids have worked so hard with their parents and teachers and counselors to get where they are right now. It’s just it’s really a very, very happy and unsatisfying day for us at Palm Desert High School. What we do best better than anything is we develop relationships with these kids and make them see the value of education and how their sport could get them an education. We really, really support our kids.”