A rare sight took place at Pleasantville High School Thursday.
As a matter of fact, it was rare on a national level as well.
The school hosted a signing of triplets for college. The three high school seniors, who have been close to each other since birth, are going their separate ways.
Kylee Van Haalen-Brown, Kelsee Van Haalen and Gauge Van Haalen all will attend college on athletic scholarship offers.
The three picked different college paths and each will participate in a different sport.
Kylee accepted a scholarship offer from Grand View College in Des Moines for track and field.
Gauge is headed north to attend Marshalltown Community College for baseball.
Kelsee will continue her education at Graceland University in Lamoni and pursue basketball.
Parents are Tammi and Tony Brown along with Joe Van Haalen.
None of the college coaches in attendance had ever been involved in a signing with triplets.
Graceland Coach Frank Howell stated, “We’ve been recruiting Kelsee since her junior year. She is a hard-nosed athletic person. This is the first time I’ve been a part of a signing ceremony with triplets. It’s pretty exciting the only thing that would have made it better is if they were all coming to Graceland.”
Kathleen Brown, Marshalltown Community College director of athletics, was at the signing to represent her school and head baseball coach Kim Johnson. The coach had a game at the time of the signing.
Brown stated, “We feel good about signing Gauge for baseball. He is a solid individual for our program.”
She added, “As for the signing of triplets, I thought that was pretty cool to do that together. Their parents should be proud of them.”
The Pleasantville community has been very supportive since the birth of the children.
Joe Van Haalen was and still is on the Pleasantville Fire Department.
Van Haalen said the community came together and held a huge diaper drive for the family. “We had thousands of diapers donated to help us out. Members of the fire department also offered to babysit to help the family out.”
Tammi, the mother, stated, “I feel the college signings are the start of a new chapter for my three babies. I’m close to all of my children.
“Working at school, I’m with them everyday of their life and I do everything possible to not miss their school activities.”
According to Tammi, her mother, Linda Robbins, deserves a lot of credit as well. “Mom is my side-kick. ‘Grammy’ is what she is known as by my children. She goes everywhere with me.”
“As mom of this crew, I’ll be quite lost when they all head to college. ”I’ve savored every moment of their careers and their success,” Tammi said.
“They all make me proud. They are all driven, focused, committed and faithful. They are try to be the best they can in whatever they pursue,” she added.
Tammi replied, “I haven’t shed any tears yet. I’m excited for each of them as they fulfill their dreams.”
Tony Brown, their stepdad, is very supportive of the children as well, Tammi stated. Tony drives truck, so he’s on the road a lot.
Joe Van Haalen stated, “I’m proud of the children. They are good athletes and good students. This gives them a chance to continue their education.”
He credits the two older brothers, Hunter and Scout, for helping the triplets along the competitive path of life.
Kylee throws the discus. She qualified for state last year and holds the Pleasantville School record with a toss of 111 feet.
“It’s exciting for the three of us heading to college next year,” Kylee replied. “At the same time, I’m going to be sad, because Kelsee and Gauge are also my best friends.”
“We all made our best decisions and we are all heading off in different directions,” Kylee commented.
Kylee is looking at pursuing a degree in nursing. She carries a 3.9 GPA. She considered attending Buena Vista, but decided on the Grand View Vikings.
She credits track coach Aaron Fichter and throwing coach Jason Anthony for helping her improve.
Kylee also credits her older brothers and her stepdad for supporting her in the sport.
“They always are asking how it (track) is going,” she said.
Gauge was the all-around athlete in the family. He plays football, basketball, runs track and plays baseball.
“I chose baseball because of my passion for the sport,” Gauge stated.
Gauge considered several colleges, including Graceland, Grand View, Des Moines Area Community College and Marshalltown Community College.
“I loved everything about Marshalltown. The college stood out compared to the other schools,” Gauge said.
Gauge carries a 3.7 GPA and he’s considering a major in either engineering, or technical work.
He credits baseball coach Sheldon Card for helping push his success.
“I was in and out of the Pleasantville lineup as a freshman. My sophomore year, coach Card asked me to stepup and help lead the team. I felt honored and did whatever I could to help,” Gauge stated.
He continued, “Being a triplet, we don’t miss each other’s events. I’m excited for my sisters to see what they can do. Today is a happy day with the signings, but there is a lot of sadness. We lean on each other a lot and we value family.”
“I want to thank the community, my teammates, coaches and parents. They have been the driving factors in what I do,” Gauge commented.
Kelsee settled on Graceland, the first college that offered her a scholarship.
“I liked the college and they have what I want to go into,” she said.
Kelsee, who was named captain of the All-Marion County Basketball Team, carries a 3.7 GPA.
She wants to major in elementary education.
“I’m excited about college. I’m choosing elementary education because I want to make a difference in the lives of children,” Kelsee replied.
She credits her mother especially, but also all of her teachers and coaches for pushing her not only in basketball, but also in the classroom.
“If you don’t have good grades, you can’t play high school sports,” Kelsee pointed out.
Kelsee is a four-year letter winner at Pleasantville in basketball. Her freshman year she broke an ankle. It was a tough injury to come back from, but therapy helped her healing process.
“It was so special being able to sign for college with Gauge and Kylee. I’m proud of both of them, We are always there for each other.”
Kelsee stated, “As for my thoughts on signing day, I’m happy to be moving on, but I’m sad also because Gauge and Kylee are my best friends along with mom and our family. I”m glad I will get a chance to pursue the sport I love at the next level.”