Dylan Riley and Kaylee Pickett, they’ve been a huge part of Comanche ISD for years. We’ve watched one on the basketball court and one on the softball field, and they “did cross country because we had to,” they laughed.
They’ve both done mission trips, and they are both in student leadership council and National Honor Society. Today they sit in front of me as co-valedictorians, something I don’t think we’ve ever seen at Comanche High School. And yet, after rounding out to five places, to the hundred thousandths (we argued a while before coming with that spelling!), the girls, one blonde, one brunette remain tied.
So how did they get here? Dylan spoke up first.
“Advanced placement courses, lots of hard work, and studying, she said.”
“We went through a lot of note cards,” Picket laughed, “AND lots of discipline.”
“But she was way more disciplined than I was.”
“So, are you saying that you are just smarter than she is,” I asked Dylan.
“I’m saying that I probably went out more than she did because I’m way more social.”
“And I’m the homebody, but I wasn’t necessarily studying. I just don’t really like to go out because I’m not a social butterfly. It’s not that I’m not a people person, but I do like to stay to myself.”
“At our 8th grade graduation, both of us won a lot of awards. We even tied for some of the highest averages so we knew that it would probably be close. We came into high school thinking that one of us would be Valedictorian,” the girls told me.
However, by her own admission, there was a point where Dylan was ranked fourth in the class. Of course, the top five students were neck and neck all through their high school careers.
“I really did not want to take college A&P because I knew it was not what I wanted to do in life, but I took it to raise my GPA, and then it was physics that really helped catch me up.”
“And I was not really very good at physics, but it was a required class,” little Pickett told me while I wondered why it is that I seem to call her Pickett instead of Kaylee. I think it has something to do with her high school softball career. Pickett just seems to flow easily from the bleachers!
But no matter the girls’ names, apparently it was these classes that evened the playing field for the two scholars, and the two found themselves tied at the end of the 5th six weeks of their senior year…
“When I made my first B ever…” Pickett interrupted me almost at the same time that Dylan interrupted her…
“That’s not right!” she told her friend.
“Oh, yeah, I made a B in 4th grade,” Kaylee Pickett smiled.
And that is how closely these girls know each other’s grades, but I must admit I saw absolutely nothing that led me to believe theirs was any type of cutthroat competition, not at all. I was, however, amazed that one B actually moved Kaylee Pickett’s grade point. Normally, there just isn’t much a student can do by his senior year to change things one way or another.
“That one B,” I said while one smiled and one frowned, “is the reason that we are all here today.”
And on May 22, 2015, both girls will deliver a Valedictorian speech, one on the future and one on the past. And when I asked for words of wisdom to conclude, surprisingly, it was Kaylee who spoke.
“This was the coolest experience ever. To be able to share it with someone I have grown up with my whole life makes it a very special moment,” the normally quieter Picket was quick to say.
And Dylan Riley who had led the charge the entire conversation was completely silent, with only a closing smile. Her words of wisdom will come on the evening of May 22 during the graduation ceremony. The only thing I am unsure of is whether hers will be the voice of the future or that of the past.