Brooke Rennie received her first glimpse of class rankings sophomore year. From there, she maintained the elite status as she is set to graduate as the valedictorian at Red Oak High School.
Born and raised in Red Oak, Rennie is an Eastridge Elementary alumna. She played soccer since she was a child and lettered her freshmen year in high school, but gave up the passion to focus on academics.
She was also involved in several organizations where she served in leadership roles. When she was not studying or finishing a project, she was in student council, National Honors Society, founder and president of the Art Club, competed in UIL debate, studied as a Hawk Scholar and competed in UIL art competitions.
When reflecting on the past four years, Rennie wants to tell the incoming freshmen to “take your grades seriously but recognize the value of your time in high school is not just about your grades. You should cherish your friends and the memories that you make — the laughs, tears, and everything.”
She noted high school is supposed to be challenging and she encourages the incoming class to challenge themselves academically and socially. She admitted having a few regrets in regards to not fully ultilizing her social opportunities.
The lifelong lesson she learned was to “cherish the people closest to you.” She disclosed how the initial shock of class rankings had her classmates and friends reveal their true colors.
“I felt like the response was a little negative for me at least. Some of the people who I thought were my best friends were very unsupportive,” Rennie elaborated. “Overcoming that definitely made me a stronger person and to be able to share this moment with one of my best friends is one of the greatest things.”
In the fall, Rennie will study at the University of Texas at Austin to obtain a bachelor’s degree in science and nursing. She then plans to get a master's in anesthesiology and, two years later, hopes to receive her doctorate as a nurse practitioner. Her ultimate goal is to either teach anesthesiology or become the dean of a hospital.
She is as prepared as she can be to move to Austin, but she is looking forward to meeting new people and making new friends. Rennie pointed out that she was stuck with the same 441 people in high school and is intrigued to be around thousands of strangers with a variety of personalities.
She is always looking for something new, and she wants to live the lifestyle of change and strives to speak to a different person each day. She is also passionate about anatomy and science and medicine.
Her valedictorian speech mainly discusses the value of high school experience.
“You shouldn’t have to base your entire life on your GPA or the college you got into,” Rennie explained. “Those are really important things, but you shouldn’t base your happiness and value of your life on how much money you will make at your job.”
Rennie mentioned a lot of time was sacrificed as well as her mental health.
“I regret immensely — I should have taken better care of myself that way. I lived in this office for the past three years crying so many times, sitting there and putting myself down because of how much I cared,” Rennie shared.
She struggled with putting that aside and worked on it during high school to where she will conquer in the college atmosphere.
The memories Rennie will hold dear over the fading years is prom and the first day of school freshmen year. The intensity of figuring out the schedule and discovering out what friends are in her class was a rush she will encounter again.
“The time in freshmen year when you are trying to figure it out who you want to sit next to in class, figure out who that senior guy is walking in the hallway knowing he doesn’t know I exist,” Rennie said.
She also recalled her years in varsity soccer, and the disappointing loss in the fourth round of playoffs. “Soccer was a really fun time,” Rennie noted.
Rennie said the impact she made at Red Oak High School was on her fellow students. She expressed how she and the salutatorian, Nadia Wakil, has shown her classmates that if she can do it, then anyone can too.
“We have definitely shown people that you don’t have to be boring to prioritize your school work,” Rennie emphasized. “I’m one of the most relaxed and chill person ever, and that’s why it was such a surprise for everybody. I think I’ve proved that you don’t have to be the goofiest, nerdiest person in the world to be smart, because who said pretty girls couldn’t be smart too.”
Red Oak High School students in the Class of 2018 will walk the stage June 1 at the University of Texas at Arlington.
Ashley Ford | @aford_news | 469-517-1450