Signing on

Just days ahead of graduation, three members of the Coal City High School class of 2024 announced their intent to continue pursuing their interests at the collegiate level.


Stephen Byers, Jr. is heading to Penn State University in the fall where he has been accepted into the School of Theatre—one of 12 incoming freshmen selected to the Musical Theatre Program. Stephen has been a part of the Coal City Theatre Department since intermediate school. He is a two time nominee in the category of Best Actor in the Illinois High School Musical Theatre Awards and was in the Illinois Theatre Association’s All-State Musical in 2023. Stephen’s parents, Stephen and Becky Byers, joined him on Signing Night. Stephen was also a four year member of the Coaler football team. 


Gavin Carpenter, a four year member of the Coaler Football team, has signed on to continue his education and playing career as a member of the Fighting Scots football team at Monmouth College. He was named to the All-Conference Team and was selected as an honorable mention to the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association [IHSFCA]  All-State Team his senior year. Gavin was joined by his parents, Joel and Krystle Carpenter, on Signing Night. Gavin was also a three year member of the Coaler Basketball Team.


Brant ‘Buddy’ Widlowski will continue his education at McKendree University where he will be a two sport athlete participating in wrestling and bass fishing. During his time as a Coaler, Buddy advanced to the state individual and dual team wrestling tournaments multiple years and earned medals at both levels including a championship team medal and second place individual medal in 2023. He is also a four-time state qualifier in bass fishing. His parents, Joe and Misty Widlowski, joined him on Signing Night. Buddy also played football for the Coalers.