When Shelbyville High School’s Samir “Sam” Shammas narrowed his list of prospective colleges down to three, Saint Joseph’s College was not on it. A chance meeting with SJC Head Men’s and Women’s Tennis Coach Reggie Sanderson changed everything.
A singles player on Shelbyville’s varsity tennis team, Shammas faced Sanderson’s son Luke, who has committed to play tennis at the United States Air Force Academy, in a tennis tournament. Sanderson approached Shammas and his family following the match and asked him about his college plans. Shammas shared that he had narrowed his list down to three colleges, but Sanderson convinced him to visit SJC before making a decision. One week later, Shammas and his parents arrived at SJC for a visit.
“My parents and I received a very warm welcome from the Office of Admissions, and we had a great tour of campus,” said Shammas. “I learned about the Core Program and really liked the idea of an education with a worldwide perspective.”
The Shammas’s then received a tour of the Hanson Recreation Center and met members of the tennis team and their parents.
“My parents and I had a great experience at SJC, and we immediately scheduled a follow-up visit that also went very well.”
Following his visits to SJC, Shammas developed a pros and cons list for all of the colleges he was considering, and after sharing it with his parents and high school guidance counselor, he found that SJC had the most pros. He spoke to Sanderson one more time to discuss how he would fit in with the tennis team, and it was then that he decided SJC was the right place for him to start the next chapter of his life.
“My experiences with SJC have been very positive, and I am excited to meet new people that may become lifelong friends,” said Shammas. “I will work hard to compete academically and athletically, and I hope to be a good representative of SJC.”
Born and raised in Shelbyville, Ind., Shammas has U.S./Kuwait dual citizenship. His father is from Kuwait and has five siblings who live there with their families. Shammas’ parents and sister lived in Kuwait several times, and he traveled with his dad to Kuwait for Christmas. While there, he had the opportunity to play tennis with multiple ranked members of a professional club.
The son of Basem and Jill Shammas, Shammas did not start playing tennis until the summer prior to his freshman year in high school despite his dad being a high school tennis coach.
“My dad tried getting me to play tennis for several years, and when I finally started, it clicked. I wish I would have started sooner because I have found a passion for the game. I look forward to improving my game under Coach Sanderson and my teammates.”
Named a "character-building college" by the Templeton Foundation, a "Best Midwestern College" by the Princeton Review, and “Best Value” and "Best Midwestern College" by US News & World Report, Saint Joseph's College is a four-year, Catholic college offering 27 majors, 4 group majors, 35 minors, and 9 pre-professional programs, complemented by the nationally acclaimed Core Program. Founded and sponsored by the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, SJC is located in Rensselaer, Indiana, approximately 90 minutes from both Chicago and Indianapolis, on a park-like campus of 180 acres and has an enrollment of nearly 1,200 students.
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