Every Monday, we present a gallery of recent pictures taken by our staff photojournalists and tell the story behind one of them. This week staff photographer Monica Herndon talks about watching their parents as high school students cheered and celebrated.
Inquirer staff photographer Monica Herndon had a pretty good idea of what to expect, walking to her assignment at powerhouse football Woodrow Wilson High in Camden. She recently came to the newspaper from the Tampa Bay Times where she got her start shooting sports under Florida’s Friday night lights, “where hot, rainy, lightning-delayed games were a weekly occurrence,” she said.
Herndon covered college commitment ceremonies before, so she positioned herself on the floor near the front row to get close to the action in the school library. Woodrow Wilson, with back-to-back South Jersey Group 3 titles, had six current or former Tigers ready to sign letters of intent with NCAA Division I programs.
As the athletes took turns declaring their destination school, their teammates cheered and celebrated, keeping the energy high. But Herndon found herself watching the parents more closely. “I could tell they were brimming with pride," she said. When Fadil Diggs announced he would be attending Texas A&M, his mom jumped up with a huge smile, flashing an Aggie Nation T-shirt when Diggs signed his letter of intent.
Herndon said she has seen high school players break state records, celebrate on signing day, play in the National Championship postseason college bowl game, and then get drafted into the NFL. “It’s incredibly sweet to watch these young men achieve their goals.”