Tori Faieta, one of the most outstanding female basketball players in Lynn history and an inspiration to student-athletes everywhere, signed a national letter of intent to attend Stonehill College during a ceremony Monday afternoon at St. Mary’s High School.
Faieta, a 6-foot-2-inch senior captain at St. Mary’s, signed the official documents for admission and a full scholarship to Stonehill as her parents, Jim and Donna, twin sister, Rachel, also a senior, and sister, Taylor, a freshman, looked on proudly.
Faieta, who suffers severe to profound hearing loss, has worked hard on the basketball court and in the classroom to achieve her goals while becoming a role model for other students who face physical challenges in their lives.
Jeff Newhall, Faieta’s coach at St. Mary’s, summed up the significance of the event, calling it a great day for Tori, her family, the school community, and the girls basketball program.
“Stonehill College is getting a hard-working player who’s improved her skills tremendously from the first day she arrived here,” said Newhall. “The best part of the story is not only that she’s a great basketball player and a great person, but what she’s overcome to get to this point.”
Carl DiMaiti, principal at St. Mary’s, praised Faieta for her scholastic accomplishments and for overcoming adversity in her life.
“What a deserving student Toro is and what a great story – everything she’s overcome and you would never know that she had any issues,” said DiMaiti. “And I’m speaking not only as an administrator, but as a sophomore she was one of the top students in my United States History honors class. I couldn’t be happier for her receiving a scholarship to Stonehill.”
At St. Mary’s, Faieta has developed into an All-Scholastic performer under the direction of Newhall and his coaching staff. Faieta enters her final season with 1,105 points and 1,117 rebounds, all-time school records in both categories.
Faieta received prime time treatment prior to the ceremony, responding to a flurry of questions from Lynn reporters and Paul Halloran of Grant Communications.
“I’m very excited and a little nervous, but I’m very confident in my decision,” said Faieta. “I’m excited to be going to college.”
Faieta said she’s happy she chose St. Mary’s after attending Sacred Heart School in Lynn.
“St. Mary’s has been awesome,” said Faieta. “Playing basketball, I have developed so many friendships with my teammates and I’ve going to be friends with them forever.”
Faieta thanked the coaches at St. Mary’s for their guidance and support in her five years in the athletic program.
“I want to thank my coaches for taking me in and having faith in me,” said Faieta. “When I had problems like hearing, they were always there for me and they always had my back no matter what. I wouldn’t be who I am today without Mr. Newhall, and all the other assistant coaches at St. Mary’s.”
Faieta understands that other students with physical challenges may look up to her for encouragement.
“I hope to be a role model and I want to be one for my sister, Taylor, because she has the same hearing loss as well and she plays basketball,” said Tori.
Senior teammates Cassi Amenta and Kirsten Ferrari talked about the positive influence Faieta has been in their time together in the Lady Spartans’ program.
“She’s one of the best persons I’ve ever met and I love playing basketball with her,” said Amenta. “I’m wicked proud of her.”
Added Ferrari, who’s been an ace at getting the ball inside to Faieta on the court, “She’s deserves every piece of this achievement. She’s worked her way to get it and I’m really proud and happy for her. I hope we can win a state championship together this season.”
Wearing a purple Stonehill Skyhawk T-shirt, Tori accepted congratulations from her family, teammates and friend, Jeni Reddy, after the ceremony.
“I would like to thank my whole family because they’ve always been there for me,” said Tori. “I think it’s because of them I work as hard as I do and I wouldn’t be the person that I am today without them.”