From the desk of Dr. Tuin, Tustin High Principal

February 4th, 2022

We started February by ending the winter sports season and there were some special moments throughout the week. Our students work hard to achieve a certain outcome, but inevitably during senior night, our students realize their participation in Tiller sports was about much more than wins and losses. Students communicate during these celebrations that relationships developed were the highlight. That was showcased not only by the words read by our announcer Keith Martyn, but also by the family and friends who escorted the various athletes in front of the home fans. The tears were not about the accomplishments achieved, but the relational bonds developed. Each sport celebrated their boys or girls in slightly a different manner, but the same theme rang forth from each little ceremony.

Another special moment for me was seeing the girls' soccer coaches and athletes returning from a road league game. Their faces beamed with pride when they reported their 2-1 victory, the first league victory for any of our senior girls. They improved so much this year and it was obvious from the games they played at a different level. It was so good to see that finally translate to the scoreboard.

After a rough ending to last week, boys soccer bounced back with an impressive tie against a formidable league opponent and then came back with a victory to end the regular season. Again, watching our athletes and coaches get off the bus returning from their final league victory was a special moment. They accomplished something they determined and both pride and relief were evident in their expressions. Now they wait to see if and when they play in CIF.

Boys basketball joined in delivering special moments. The two victories this week which set them up to continue on to CIF obviously contributed to a special week. However, there were some moments after the Tuesday home game that caught my attention. It started with the team making a point to go over to Tiller Bob and sing Happy Birthday to him. Tiller Bob's smile communicated the appreciation for a group of high school kids to go out of their way to pay tribute to a Tiller icon. That gesture demonstrated a lot about the character of this group of boys and the coach who leads them. Shortly after that, there were a couple of proposals from female friends inviting two basketball players to the Winter Formal. It was a tender moment in each case made even more special with Coach Boss posing for a photo with each couple. It is not something Coach Bossenmeyer would normally do, but showed his appreciation for his athletes by being willing to extend his comfort zone.

Special moments continued with girls basketball finishing strong with two victories to also put themselves in a position to move on to CIF. However, the most special moments centered around celebrating seniors and watching their leader Tamiyah Boykin play. She hurt her knee badly enough at the beginning of the year to warrant surgery and end her season. It was devastating for everyone, but especially for Tamiyah and her family. To her credit, she stayed engaged with her team despite the end of her high school playing days. In a surprising turn of events, she was cleared to actually play despite the limited use of her knee. Coach Gocke very carefully inserted her into the line up making sure to get all the clearances. Watching Tamiyah run up and down the court, contributing to the team, was a special moment for everyone. It seemed as if she appreciated every moment knowing it was a gift far above what she would have imagined when she got the news over a month ago. It also seemed to put high school athletics in perspective. Wins are great, but the gift of being able to move and contribute to the team is nothing to be taken for granted.

While the last two weeks, athletics have taken center stage, there was an event on campus celebrating six of our athletes who are choosing to continue competing in college. Six seniors participated in a signing day celebration to honor the accomplishment of moving on to college to not only compete but also earn a degree. Families and friends gathered on the plaza stage to congratulate and witness students signing up to continue their dream of competing at the next level. Each of the six students will be attending such different colleges and it seemed a fitting expression of the diversity of our students.

Tobey Schmidt will play quarterback at a Division I school called Wagner University in New York. His record-breaking season here at Tustin High School not only earned him the respect of his peers and coaches but also the attention of a quality school. Dwayne TJ Afamasaga will play on the defensive line for Arizona Christian University, an NAIA school in the Phoenix area. TJ knows a little about recovering from a knee injury and has put himself in a position to continue his dream. Tyler Sandhu will pitch for Cal State Dominguez Hills, an NCAA Division II school that will give him a scholarship and an opportunity to pursue his dream. Brianna Castro will play volleyball for Whitter College, an NCAA Division III school that will allow her to gain a great college education and still be able to continue to compete as an athlete. Erin McInnes will play volleyball at San Jose State University, an NCAA Division I school that will give her a chance to compete at a high level, and will also provide a really inexpensive way to earn her degree. Audrey Barcenas will run cross country and track at NCAA Division II school Concordia University Irvine. She will get to compete and learn in a beautiful setting not far away. We are so proud of these students and their dedicated hard work over their high school careers. They each put themselves in a position to take advantage of some great opportunities.

It was a good week to be a Tiller.

Go Tillers!

Dr. Jon Tuin

Tustin High School Principal