Students walk the stage into adulthood at 2024 Hohenfels graduation

By Bryan Gatchell, USAG Bavaria Public AffairsJune 14, 2024

COL Poole speaks to graduates
JOINT MULTINATIONAL READINESS CENTER, Germany -- Col. Kevin A. Poole, commander of U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria, speaks to the 2024 graduating class of Hohenfels High School during their graduation May 31, 2024. The class of 20, Poole recounted, entered life as military children during two large military conflicts, and their high school lives saw both a pandemic and the largest armed conflict in Europe since World War II. All these experiences, Poole believed, would make them the resilient generations the U.S. has seen. (U.S. Army photo by Bryan Gatchell, USAG Bavaria Public Affairs) (Photo Credit: Bryan Gatchell) VIEW ORIGINAL

JOINT MULTINATIONAL READINESS CENTER, Germany -- Seniors of Hohenfels Middle / High School graduated during a ceremony May 31, 2024, at the military movie house near Hohenfels, Germany.

There were 20 in the graduating class, with half going on to college and the other half either entering the workforce or taking apprenticeships or similar on-the-job trainings.

Members of the community lined General Patton Drive to cheer them as they made a motorcade from the school to the theater.

Students in the music program played “Pomp and Circumstance” by Edward Elgar as the seniors walked in pairs down the middle aisle of movie theater to ascend the stage and take their seats, two rows of five on either side of a table covered with a blue tablecloth and the school’s symbol – the head of a blue-eyed white tiger roaring.

Before an audience of parents, siblings, teachers, and many other Hohenfels military community members, Principal Rick Renninger took to the podium stage right. He addressed the seniors and the challenges they faced throughout their academic career.

“Seniors, you have come so far, and you have learned so much,” said Renninger. “I am completely confident you have inside of you everything you need to truly change this world for the better. You are well-rounded, culturally aware, tolerant, and extremely resilient. You have all of what it takes. I am honored to be a part of your final year at Hohenfels High School.”

“Here at this school, we have had the opportunity to experience a glimpse of the diversity the world as a whole has to offer,” said salutatorian Bryce Buford. “We will be with other in memory and experience. We have struggled and persisted together.”

The valedictorian, Hector Proano, cited the Hohenfels community’s relatively small size and isolation from other installations as factors in developing a strong bond with his classmates.

“Every last one of you made this place special,” said Proano, referring to his fellow classmates.

Col. Kevin A. Poole, U.S. Army Garrison Bavaria commander, imparted four pieces of advice as his keynote address to the graduates: to embrace the struggle, to not be afraid to fail, that their potential is unlimited, and to lead with love.

Along with the advice to persevere in both struggle and failure, he commended the class for growing up as military children during two major combat operations – Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. The graduating class also entered high school just as COVID-19 become a pandemic that required difficult adjustments on the students’ behalf. And, then, of course, they were all in Europe as Russia invaded Ukraine – the largest armed conflict on the continent of Europe since World War II.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I don’t think you realize it yet, but you have been forged in fire and are ready for any challenge that you undertake,” Poole said. “You are our nation’s next ‘greatest generation,’ and don’t let anyone (to include old folks like myself) tell you any different.”

Poole also clarified what he meant by “leading with love.”

“What I mean with the word love is a conscious act of the will for the good of another,” Poole said. “Find what’s good about those you interact with, the organizations you work for, your co-workers, your subordinates, your friends, your Family, and dedicate your existence to their good – and you will all be better for it.”

After the keynote speech, the students received their degrees, moved their tassels and flung their mortarboards into the air.

The class of 2024 graduates from Hohenfels High School includes:

- Erin Angulo,

- Hayden Bartlett,

- Forrest Bogel,

- Emily Boyle,

- Bryce Buford,

- Jazlyn Campbell,

- Garris Coker,

- Katelyn Cooley,

- Brian David,

- Isabel DeBorja,

- Trashon Fortenberry,

- Scott Johnson,

- Abigail McCarthy,

- Preston Mitchell,

- Hector Proano,

- Colibri Sanchez,

- Luisa Jane Tolentino,

- Abigail Weaver,

- Nadine Willey, and

- Jacob Zarum.

To see photos from the event, visit