Comanche Class of 2024 bids farewell

by Todd Brooks

The Comanche High School Class of 2024 threw their mortar boards in the air marking the end of one chapter of their lives and marking the beginning of another chapter last Friday.

Diplomas were handed out, awards were presented and speeches were given over the course of about an hour in the packed high school gym.

Briar Blair was named Mr. CHS and Kamrey Rendon was named Miss CHS during the ceremony.

Brooke Combs gave the valedictorian’s speech, while Andrew Aldridge, a 2011 CHS graduate was the guest speaker.

“This is both a scary and exciting part of all of our lives that signifies our growth as people,” Combs said. “After today, we will all be going our respective ways and starting adventures all our own.”

Combs went on to say that the class had learned many things apart from just the academics.

“The learning I am speaking of is something that can follow us no matter what path in life we will choose to follow after today,” Combs said. “These lessons are things we have been taught through both our own experiences as well as words of wisdom and advice from those who care about us so deeply.”

Combs mentioned several things she has learned along the way.

“First of all, I have a lesson that was probably the hardest for me to learn, which is that your parents or loved ones are right most of the time,” Combs said. “They always have you and your best interest in mind, even when you may not fully understand why they are leading you a certain way.”

Combs went on to address things including: not doing certain things just because you have the ability to do so; never changing the definition of right and wrong to fit in with anyone; everyone deserves love and respect; quality over quantity; don’t be afraid to speak up; the phrases “please,” “thank you,” and “I love you,” can never be overused; and small acts of kindness can change a person’s life.

“Lastly, realize that everything you are is because of everyone who has poured into you and your life,” Combs said. “You are a mix of everyone and everything that has ever cared about you….I pray that we remember all of these lessons as we go on with our futures and remember to thank those who have helped us along the way.”

Aldridge reminisced about how he had stood on the same stage 13 years before given a valedictorian’s speech.

“I struggled with the big question of what am I going to do for the rest of my life?” Aldridge said. “I was headed to OSU, I had an ag scholarship and I knew the major I declared, but still not knowing what I was going to do.”

He went on to talk about an inspirational story he remembered about the famous thoroughbred horse Triple Crown winner Secretariat and how he was able to do so well in races because his heart was three times the size of normal thoroughbreds.

“When we think about the races and the opportunities in our lives, having a new job, starting a family, learning a new skill or education, you will have doubters,” Aldridge said. “In fact, there will be times that you will doubt yourself.”

Aldridge went on to say they would not have all the answers and the answers they do come up with don’t have to be the answers they have to live by for the rest of their lives.

“I can attest that you will have doubters, and I can also attest that there will be times when you do struggle and you wonder if your goals are the right ones,” Aldridge said.

He encouraged the graduates to to find their supporters in the community and to remember where they came from.

“Tonight, you’ve completed one of the biggest races of your life,” Aldridge said. “The races in our lives are sometimes tougher and longer than others. But, remember, it was Secretariat’s heart that helped him win by landslides. If we focus on our heart that we have for people, and our mission here on earth, and the possibility to impact our community, we will cross finish lines that once seemed impossible.”

Aldridge left the podium with one final word of encouragement.

“Now, celebrate this race of graduating high school and know whatever race that you decide to run in your life, you will and you can win,” Aldridge said.