It was an impressive ceremony for an impressive young man who happens to be one of the state’s most outstanding high school basketball players.
Chelsea High School Athletic Director Frank DePatto rolled out the red and black carpet for former Red Devil hoop star Sammy Mojica for his national letter-of-intent signing ceremony Nov. 26 inside the Saul Nechtem Gymnasium.
Flanked by his proud parents, Chelsea Police officer Sammy Mojica Sr. and Awilda Morales, Sammy Mojica made it official that he has accepted a full scholarship to continue his basketball career at Division 1 Drexel University in Philadelphia.
Though Mojica is now excelling at the Brimmer and May School, the 6-feet-3-inch guard wanted to make the important announcement in the city where he grew up and excelled in youth basketball and Pop Warner football and at the school where he became an elite athlete and all-time CHS hoop great.
“We at Chelsea High School think it is privilege that Sammy asked us to host this special day for him,” said DePatto.
In a unique touch to the ceremony, Mojica answered questions from the large gathering of students, friends, and family who attended the ceremony.
“Why did you choose to go to Drexel?” asked a CHS student.
“Drexel was the first school to recruit me and I felt the relationship with the coaches – they were really good guys and I took a visit to Drexel and it was a very nice school, a very good place to be, and it’s in the city of Philadelphia and it’s just a nice place to be at,” Mojica replied.
DePatto told the assemblage that Mojica is making CHS history as a Division 1 college basketball player, joining such greats as Jeff Hagan and Lew Perkins and others in that esteemed category.
CHS varsity coach Jay Seigal praised his former player and noted that he had also coached Sammy’s father during his hoop career.
“I actually coached Sammy Sr. as a freshman at Chelsea High School,” said Seigal. “I actually had the pleasure of coaching both Mojicas.”
Seigal said that Mojica was an outstanding all-around person.
“More than his basketball skills which Sammy obviously worked very hard at, was the fact that he was able to go through 12 years of school and made the right decisions about himself, for his family, with his friends, and when it came to basketball. Academically and socially Sammy did the right thing which is very important. We all know that being a good human being and being a nice person and good citizen is just as great an accomplishment as going to a Division 1 basketball school.”
Brimmer and May coach Tom Nelson lauded Mojica’s hard work and dedication to basketball. Mojica scored more than 500 points last season at Brimmer and May.
“To his credit, Sammy worked harder than any kid I’ve ever had to get to his dreams and his goals,” said Nelson. “Through it all, his character is what allowed him to get to where he is. He is a very good person. He’s true, he’s genuine, he is who he is. It’s one thing to be talented, but he works hard.”
Sammy Mojica then took center stage with his some heartfelt remarks.
“I just want to thank my parents for always being there for me,” said Mojica. “I want to thank everybody else for coming out and supporting me today.”
Chelsea High Principal Joseph Mullaney, who played college basketball at North Adams State College, congratulated Mojica on his high honor.
“I think it’s just a wonderful opportunity for a great kid coming from a great family,” said Mullaney. “Sammy has worked really hard to put himself in this position both on the court and off the court. Sammy has excelled in the classroom. I think Sammy coming back to do his signing in the high school gym speaks volumes about what the Chelsea community means to him. When you think about Chelsea pride, you think about kids like Sammy Mojica.”
Basketball fans will able to watch Sammy play in the city when Brimmer and May plays a prep tournament game at Chelsea High on Sunday, Jan. 19.
Next year, it will be on national television for Chelsea’s Sammy Mojica and the Drexel Dragons.