WAIMEA – Kenny Estes was stoic as he studied the wording on the letter and forms before him.
That packet came in the familiar yellow-and-red envelope that has been appearing in television newscasts and wire photos as athletes signed their letters of intent.
Jon Kobayashi, athletic director for Waimea High School, said, “Waimea has been fortunate in that our athletes have been able to play for some of the big colleges, and we are here today to celebrate and honor Kenny Estes.”
Estes, who had earlier announced his intent to play football for the University of Hawai’i, made it official Thursday afternoon as he confidently put his signature to the letter and forms.
“I looked for this lei,” Darla Abattiello, mother of Jordon Dizon said as she followed the lei presentation with a hug. “This is the lei given to Jordon when he signed (to play for Colorado).”
“Kenny and Jordon grew up together,” she said. “Jordon wanted him to come to Colorado, too.”
Among those congratulating the Waimea senior, Bernard Carvalho, a former UH football alumni, offered his best wishes, noting that it has been a long time since he played.
Mike Tresler, the county’s finance director as well as a coach for the Kaua’i High School football team, offered his congratulations as both a UH football alumni as well as a coach.
“Rich (Miano) is really excited,” Tresler told Estes. “Play hard. Give ’em hell, but don’t forget to study hard, too.”
The small group that gathered in the electric atmosphere of Menehune readying to board a bus to Kapa’a for a crucial basketball game was fitting for the signing as Estes received more congratulations from Liko Pereira, his football coach, and Billy DeCosta, one of the coaches for the Menehune program.
“He’s going to make the NFL,” DeCosta noted with the same enthusiasm and vibrancy he injects into his coaching. “He’s a good boy, and he’s going to go far. One day, he’ll make the NFL.”
But, for Estes, the son of J.R. and Esther Estes, there are more immediate things to take care of.
“We still have the state soccer games coming up,” Estes, a mid-fielder for the KIF champion boys team, said quietly and modestly.
- Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, may be reached at 245-3681 (ext. 253) or firstname.lastname@example.org