CEDAR PARK, Texas — National Signing Day is a celebration of an athletic achievement, financial aid to pay for all or a portion of college expenses while playing collegiate athletics.

From the smiles and tears on moms' faces, these are all proud, emotional moments.

For Cedar Park High School's Jesiah Whittington, his journey to National Signing Day began in Anchorage, Alaska.

"A lot of people don't know this, my mom was 17 when she had me and she had to drop out of school," said Jesiah.

As a child in Alaska, Whittington's mom, Rachel, made the ultimate sacrifice as a single mom. She raised Jesiah and worked simultaneously.

RELATED: Four Cedar Park Timberwolves ink letters of intent on National Signing Day

RELATED: LIST: Central Texas students sign letters of intent on National Signing Day

"So, I lived with my grandparents a lot," said Whittington.

Then Mike Whittington entered his life and married his mom. Jesiah doesn't refer to Mike as his stepdad.

"He's my dad," Jesiah said. 

A father figure who changed Jesiah's life.

"He changed the trajectory of my life in ways I can't imagine," said Jesiah.

During that transformation, the Whittingtons moved to Texas and Jesiah's "dad" supported him in his passion to play football.

"It's the only thing I really excelled at. I'm not a musician. I'm not an artist," said Jesiah Whittington.

Instead, he mastered his craft and his talents in football. 

Which led the defensive lineman to today, signing a national letter of intent to continue playing football and extending his education at UT-Permian Basin.

An emotional day for Jesiah and his parents, a moment Jesiah is beyond grateful for, a young man who hasn't forgotten his roots.

That was evident during his speech in front of his peers, coaches, mom, and "dad."

"I'm extremely grateful for all you've done for me," said Jesiah.

Afterwards, a special moment was captured. Jesiah and his family all huddled up together as one team.

Jesiah Whittington at Cedar Park High School
Shawn Clynch