Chaparral Celebrates Seven at Enthusiastic Signing Ceremony


With energy, enthusiasm and volume reminiscent of a championship game or match, mixed with snippets of sentimentality synonymous with such ceremonies, Chaparral celebrated the two-year-old high school’s largest class of collegiate athletic signees Tuesday afternoon.


Clapping and smilingA surprise speech by City of Killeen Mayor Debbie Nash-King got the hundreds of students, family members and staff riled up and into good spirits. Following the festivities, Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” blared through the auditorium speakers, escorting everyone into the foyer where plenty of pictures were taken and cupcakes eaten.


There certainly was a party going on at CHS –– the guests of honor being Jordan Brazil, Ashanti Bradshaw, Marshon Hudson, Cassy Poteet, Jeremiah Smith, Kristin Stevens and Kiersten Thomas.


Nash-King was invited by Thomas and delivered an impromptu message that got the ball rolling.


“Good afternoon, Chaparral!!!,” Nash-King proclaimed to rousing applause, before recognizing the accomplishment of the student-athletes as an important step toward their futures, and making sure to highlight to positive influences bestowed upon the teenagers by coaches, parents, guardians and other relatives. “Congratulations to you all. You are our future leaders, and I expect one day, five, 10, 15 years from now, you will be the next mayor of Killeen.”


On stageAfter each signee was called up to the stage one by one with their family, the players’ coachesSmile for signing took turns sharing special memories and glimpses into the players’ personalities and who they are as athletes, high school students and human beings.


Some of the reflections touched on overcoming adversity, the importance of being a trustworthy teammate, hard work in the classroom, and dedication and passion for sports. And, all of that led to the big moment when each signed their letters of intent.


First up was Brazil, who arrived at Chaparral in 2022 without having before played football. He now will continue his career at North Park University in Chicago, Illinois.


“He gave me the opportunity to work with him, and what a privilege it has been,” football head coach Alan Haire said of Brazil.


Proud momentBradshaw had high aspirations and expectations ahead of her senior season in track andReady for the picture field, but an injury prevented her from chasing those down. Still, Bradshaw has a chance to make up for that lost time at Concordia Texas.


“Ashanti is a huge part of our girls track program. She is very valued and loved,” coach Kyra Bauer said. “The injury really shed light on how mush she loved track. She was determined.”


Hudson became the first wrestler from Chaparral to sign, choosing Wayland Baptist University as his next stop.


“His tremendous leadership changed not only myself but several athletes on the team. He has been the biggest advocate to help grow the men’s program. I’m so proud of this child and the man he’s going to become,” wrestling coach Kierra Boyce said.

Big moment


As with any fledgling program trying to establish itself, there are starting points, and Poteet, who is headed to McDaniel College in Maryland, was a key player in that process for the volleyball team, which qualified for the playoffs each of its first two seasons.


“Not very often does a coach get to go somewhere and start something brand new and have a kid that completely buys in,” volleyball coach Sarah Neal said. “Cassy has a huge heart. She loves her teammates, she loves her family, and she takes volleyball very seriously.


Smith, who signed with University of the Ozarks in Arkansas, twice was the Bobcats boys basketball team’s most valuable player, an all-district selection, and exits with school records in total points, career points per game, 3-pointers made, and single-season and single-game points scored.

Listening in

“He’s been a huge part of our team and a major part of our success, and I want to express my gratitude to him and his family for allowing me to be just a small part of his basketball journey,” head coach Blake Doughty said of Smith, adding a note about his TABC academic all-state selection. “You’re going to lead a great life and go on and have major successes that come from your work not just on the basketball floor but in the classroom and the arena of life.”


Mayor Nash King

On the way to Dallas Christian College is Stevens, who was loudly cheered on her way up the steps and smiled throughout her turn on stage as head coach Angel Jasso spoke of Stevens’ commitment on and off the field.


“I am honored and very proud to see you move forward,” Jasso said. “You showed me what a leader is, and what a student-athlete is as well.”


Girls basketball head coach Kiara Marshall, whose team advanced to the Class 5A Region III semifinals this season while earning a district title along the way, rounded out the ceremony by introducing Thomas, the program's first signee who picked Dallas College Mountain View.


“Kiersten Thomas was a senior leader for us this year,” said Marshall, who highlighted one performance Thomas had during which she made six 3-pointers. “Kiersten, I’m going to miss you dearly. Thank you for being an example for what these ladies should be as they continue their athletic career here at CHS.”