PHS students celebrate post-grad choices

Signs showing where Permian High School students are going after graduation are seen on tables in the PHS Fieldhouse Monday before the start of the signing day celebration for seniors. (Ruth Campbell|Odessa American)

High schools throughout Ector County ISD on Monday celebrated their graduates with signing day.

The event began three years ago with the football National Signing Day as an example.

Each senior got a chance to celebrate their college, military or workforce decisions. More than 1,000 seniors took part Monday.

In a pep rally atmosphere, seniors at the Permian High School Fieldhouse got on stage with a sign, introduced themselves and said where they were going after graduation.

There were black, white and silver balloons lining their way to the stage, along with cheerleaders, a drum line and tables manned by representatives from colleges, mascots and the military.

Permian Principal Delesa Styles said there are 825 seniors this year, one of the larger classes they have had in a while. About 600 students RSVP’d to signing day and a breakfast from Chick-fil-A was provided.

Sophomores and juniors were invited, along with parents. Freshmen had the celebration live-streamed into their classroom. “It truly is a school-wide event,” Styles said.

After today, the signs will be placed on the front lawn of the school so passersby can see where the students are going.

Connor DeArmond was the emcee. The 17-year-old is going to Christ for the Nations in Dallas for its music program.

“They have a really great worship team,” DeArmond said.

Ella Veretto announced she was going to Odessa College at the Permian High School Fieldhouse Monday as part of the Signing Day celebration. About 600 students came up on stage to say what they plan to pursue after high school. (Ruth Campbell|Odessa American)

His father, mother and grandfather were in the ministry.

DeArmond said his experience at PHS has been good.

“All freshmen are going to think it’s rough … at the beginning of it; really scary and stuff, but I definitely made some friends along the way … but it’s just been a great experience here at Permian,” he said.

DeArmond said he is looking forward to graduation.

“But it’s also very sad, a very bittersweet moment walking that stage because having all my memories in high school and … not necessarily leaving those behind, but make room for new ones,” he added.

Ella Veretto is going to Odessa College to study business. She wants to start her own golf clothing line.

The Permian High School drumline plays at the signing day celebration Monday at the PHS Fieldhouse. About 600 students responded to the invitation. (Ruth Campbell|Odessa American)

She said she thought Monday’s celebration was well planned a good way to celebrate with her peers.

“It’s definitely a little bit scary and nerve wracking,” Veretto said of graduation. “I’ve gone to the same school for four years and a whole new environment, but I’m excited and I’m ready to start the new chapter of my life.”