All over the state, young people hoisted backpacks, grabbed notebooks, and hurried, albeit often grudgingly, off to school this week. That’s exactly what Kymberlee Strickland would have been doing, some might even say should have been doing, had she decided to finish her senior year like the rest of her friends at Comanche High School. That is not, however, what the softball standout chose to do.
“I actually moved the day we finished the state game. My cousin picked me up from the high school when the bus rolled in, and since my bags were already packed, I moved that same day.”
And move she did. Today, Kymberlee Strickland lives in Midland, Texas, where she works at Bed, Bath & Beyond, instead of going to school. Of course, I wanted to understand why she would do such a thing.
“I lived for softball, and I was really close to my last year’s team. We started together in T-Ball, and when they all graduated last year, I felt like it just wasn’t the same. We know each other so well, and I felt like something was missing. I knew I wouldn’t enjoy softball as much.”
And since softball is what she “lived for,” it didn’t seem as if it was worth going back to school, at least not to Kymberlee.
“I work, and that is pretty much all I do right now except for going to the gym and working out. I do enjoy the job, and the pay is good. There are just more opportunities here that I think will benefit me.
“I actually am going to try to go to college this next semester, but I don’t know what I want to be yet. I’m taking this time to decide. I haven’t made any friends yet, and I really miss that. It was also very, very hard for me to leave my little brother. I talk to my mom regularly, but I can’t talk to River because it makes him too sad to hear my voice.”
Would she make same decision again?
“That’s hard. For the most part, I would but if I could change anything, I would have my mom move here.”
Of course, Kymberlee is experiencing exactly what we’ve all experienced, and she’s realizing what we all realize the day we leave home. Midland, Texas (as are most places) is a long way from home!
“It’s not as convenient as I thought it would be, but it is a fit for me, and I did do this for me, not for anything else or anyone else. I just felt like I needed to get out of Comanche. Now, I have to make myself happy and not depend on someone else to do that.
Kymberlee has not been back home during the two months she has been gone, but she does hope to have time off to do that soon. Up until now, she has been too busy with her schoolwork. I did remember to tell you that Kymberlee Strickland took only two months to finish her senior classes and pass the required tests, didn’t I? Two months!
“I started the program in June, and I just graduated last week,” the beautiful blonde announced with pride. It was pretty difficult. I did not realize that I had signed up for something so hard, but my personal goal was to have completed the program before school began this year so I made sure that I was finished by the time school started.
“My mom is really proud of me and the fact that I actually finished. She doesn’t totally agree with what I’ve done, but she is very supportive of me and the fact that I did graduate. I plan to come back to walk with my class at the end of this year although I will only be receiving a diploma cover since I will already have my diploma.
“I did this myself and for myself. I don’t think anyone should judge me because I am not giving up or not going to college. I still plan to better my life.”
And if there is anything that I have learned in my six decades, it is that sometimes people have to be allowed to make their own decisions. Here at TU, we wish Kymberlee nothing but blue skies and smooth sailing!