Two St. Joseph’s Academy student-athletes signed their national letters of intent on December 1 and will compete at the collegiate level next year. The signing ceremony was held in the school library and attended by a large gathering of family members, teammates, friends, administrators and faculty/staff members.
Ava Lemoine will run cross country and track for the University Louisiana at Lafayette, and Morgan Perry will play beach volleyball at the University of Southern Mississippi.
Lemoine is a four-year letter winner on the SJA cross country team and lettered in track in 2021. She was named to the All-Metro Cross Country Team in 2019 and 2020 and finished 12th overall in the 2020 state championship meet. She also served as a captain of the 2021 team.
Lemoine was joined at the ceremony by her parents, Joanna and Hudson Lemoine; sister Hope Lemoine; Aunt Corrie and Uncle Paxton Hester; Aunt Nicole and Uncle Nairman; grandmother Gerry Hunt; grandparents Jeff and Carol “Mimi” Smith; and coaches Mark LaHaye, Charlie Daigle, Kate Cook and Tré Hendry.
Lemoine said she is looking forward to new experiences and meeting new friends at ULL. “I also am looking forward to growing into a stronger runner and seeing where this new chapter of my life takes me,” she said.
The large and vocal crowd in the library added to the celebration, Lemoine said. “Many of my teammates have been running with me for eight years, so it was really special to have them by my side during this ceremony,” she said. “They are all my best friends, and I love them so much. Also, it was great having my family there since they are my biggest supporters. They always believe in me and help me achieve the greatest things in life. Finally, it was great having friends there, too, since they were so excited for me. I really would not have had this day any other way. Everyone there was so supportive and made this experience amazing. I am truly lucky to have such amazing teammates, friends and family.”
Perry is a four-year varsity letter winner on the SJA volleyball team. She was named to the All-Metro First Team in 2019 and 2020, the All-District First Team in 2019, 2020 and 2021 and the All-State First Team in 2020 and 2021. She served as team captain as a junior and senior. She has also played beach volleyball for four years.
Perry was joined at the signing by her parents, Nicole and Ryan Perry; her siblings Molly, Preston and Aubrey Perry; and coaches Sivi Miller and Keenan Ruff.
She said she can’t wait to compete at the collegiate level. “I am excited to be surrounded by people with the same goals and same determination,” she said. “I cannot wait to meet all my future teammates, and I know they will be my friends for life. It is a dream come true to be able to compete at such a high level.”
Having family and friends at the ceremony made the moment special, Perry said. “I am so thankful for every single person who has guided and supported me throughout this journey,” she said. “I could not do this without everyone around me. It is an amazing feeling for everyone you love to be around you while signing a paper that is one of your biggest accomplishments. I cannot thank everyone enough.”
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos by Jennifer M. Fontaine