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Saturday, June 15, 2024 at 12:12 PM

Tigers roar one last time

Tigers roar one last time

THRALL — Just over 70 seniors walked across the stage during Thrall High School’s graduation Friday, May 17, at Tiger Stadium.

During a combined valedictorian and salutatorian address, Mathew Martin and Kayla Noren pointed out that the graduating class had to deal with its fair share of obstacles to reach the point it is at now.

“But through everything thrown your way, you have survived,” said Noren, the salutatorian. “Every year had a new surprise, and every year you came out stronger and better than you were before.”

Noren and Martin said the graduates entered freshman year during the uncertainties of the COVID-19 pandemic, experienced a change in leadership their sophomore year when a former principal stepped down, Winter Storm Uri, the struggles of junior year and the pressure of senior year.

The pair described the class as positive, resilient, patient and driven.

“We didn’t slow down, didn’t give up, didn’t get lost in yesterday,” Martin said. “We did not keep on lying down. We kept fighting even though it was hard. Because you fought, you are resilient.”

The valedictorian later added that he thinks the class left a good legacy, which included a special remembrance.

Steven Flournoy-Walker, Tyler Bonkowski and Rylan West made a special presentation during the ceremony, that essentially announced the creation of a $500 scholarship. It is named after former Coach Rick Porter and will be given next to someone who exhibits leadership characteristics.

“A person who assists anyone in need and gives back to their community, a person who leads others,” Flournoy-Walker said. “Any student can be a leader. Whether they are in athletics, band, academic UIL or any other clubs, a leader is someone who can learn from a mistake or problem and advise others on how to move forward and learn as well.”

Later, teacher and coach Cindy Knapek gave the commencement address. She joined the school to teach chemistry during the grade’s sophomore year.

Knapek said while the graduates will experience setbacks and loss during their lives, they can hold onto their beliefs to get them through challenges.

“Just as there can be setbacks in life, there will be many more magnificent moments to commemorate, just like today,” Knapek said. “On such joyous occasions, take time to step back and truly enjoy the moment.”

Thrall High School also recognized its teacher-nominated teacher of the year and student-nominated teacher of the year. Roberto Garza was the teacher-nominated winner, while Markell Irvin was the student- nominated winner.

Denzel Drake walks to his seat during the Class of 2024’s procession into the stadium during the Thrall High School graduation Friday, May 17.


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