Humboldt Class of 2024 overcomes challenges

Humboldt High School students started their high school career during the COVID-19 quarantine year. Class speakers Garren Goodner and Kayla Scott shared their thoughts about the years since.


Local News

May 13, 2024 - 2:29 PM

Class speaker Garren Goodner gives his speech during Saturday evening’s 140th annual commencement ceremony at Humboldt High School. Photo by Sarah Haney / Iola Register

HUMBOLDT — “We started out as a bunch of wide-eyed freshmen, running around with face masks and getting quarantined four times,” stated class speaker Garren Goodner, reflecting on the chaos of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Families filled the bleachers of the field house at Humboldt High School Saturday evening to celebrate the graduating class of 2024. 

Senior Kayla Scott also addressed the crowd. Goodner and Scott were chosen by their classmates as this year’s class speakers.

Goodner took the opportunity as a way to give thanks. Specifically to educators. “Every single one of you made coming to school fun and enjoyable,” he said. “Not only were you our teachers, but I look up to you as role models.”

Looking out at his peers, Goodner commented on their progress. 

“Every one of us has grown in our own unique way,” he noted. “As we get ready for what’s next, let’s remember the good times. The friendships that we’ve made and all that we’ve learned.” His advice to underclassmen is to “not complain about the hard times,” adding that “you only get four years, so make the most of it.”

Goodner closed by reminding his classmates, “If you only do what you can do, you’ll never be more than who you are.”

Unlike many other graduation speakers of the past, Scott noted that she has a unique perspective to offer in that she is relatively new to the community, arriving halfway through her sophomore year. As a newcomer, she commented on the difficulties of meeting new people and the transition from coastal life to small town midwestern life. 

“My reason for bringing this up is because many of my peers are about to go through the same sort of transition,” Scott said of graduation. “I’m sure I speak for all of us when I say the process of becoming independent and grown adults is an anxiety we all share.”

She offered a beacon of hope to her classmates. “Just as I was able to make this transition and thrive through it, I believe that the class of 2024 will be able to do the same,” she said. “We are a tightknit community who will strive to lift up on another.”

In closing, Scott quoted the fictional detective Sherlock Holmes. “When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains — however improbable — must be the truth,” she said. “Moving forward, I’m sure that we’ll all be able to move past the impossible and find our truths.”

Graduate Piper Jones holds her diploma high above her head in celebration at Saturday evening’s commencement ceremony at Humboldt High School. Photo by Sarah Haney / Iola Register
Senior Caleb Gunderman receives his diploma at the Humboldt High School graduation Saturday evening. Photo by Sarah Haney / Iola Register
Class speaker Kayla Scott gives her speech during Saturday evening’s commencement ceremony at Humboldt High School. Photo by Sarah Haney / Iola Register
Graduates in the Humboldt High School Class of 2024 listen on as Kayla Scott gives her speech. Photo by Sarah Haney / Iola Register
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Dream Humboldt

Humboldt City Administrator Cole Herder gave the annual Dream Humboldt presentation. Each year, the City of Humboldt presents graduates with a mailbox with the invitation to “come home to Humboldt,” said Herder. He noted that in 2008, the community was in decline and it was decided that something needed to be done about it. A recurring topic that came up at community conversations was that Humboldt should be a place where young people wanted to stay or come back to. 

“One of the things that we realize is that we should let our youth know that Humboldt wants them and needs them,” Herder said. “Having young adults and young families is the only way that Humboldt will thrive and grow. We want you to feel welcome here. Pursue your dreams, get your education or training, start a career. We hope that each time you make a life decision, that you’ll consider whether Humboldt might be the place to live your life.” 

“Your invitation never expires.”

Ahead of the presentation of diplomas, several awards were presented to graduates.


Landon Bauer received the Lions Club’s highest scholastic boy graduate award. Bauer is planning to get a college degree in agricultural diesel mechanics and major in business management. Danica Modlin received the club’s scholarship. She plans to attend Pittsburg State University to study nursing. Her goal is to become a registered nurse in the labor and delivery field.

Kayla Scott was recognized by G.A.L.S.-F.CE. as the highest scholastic girl graduate. Scott plans on obtaining a bachelor’s of fine arts degree in visual arts from the University of Kansas.

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