By Gene’ Trujillo
Brooke Elizabeth Dawkins. Not only did we share the same middle name but we shared so many laughs, tears, memories, and lets not forget…. food. When I met Brooke in middle school, I had no idea of the friendship and sisterhood that would unfold. I knew she was the farthest thing from shy from the moment I met her. For awhile, I knew you as the girl who always made cheer practice an adventure. I can’t count the amount of times I’d look over at Brooke and she’d randomly be dancing or making a funny face. No matter what, she always had us rolling on the floor laughing. She was my favorite distraction and best comedic relief.
High school brought us closer because although we still cheered together, we also took classes together. Her smile was infectious and even had the power to turn anyone’s bad day into good one. Ask anyone. You could hear her manly laugh from anywhere and that’s how you knew Brooke was there. Sometimes, in the very quiet, I can still hear it. In high school, Brooke worked harder than anyone I knew and always seemed to either be at cheer, yearbook, or stuffing her face somewhere. All she had to do was give one look from icy blue eyes and you instantly felt special and loved. She got along with everyone and lit up every room she walked in. from the sidelines, I could tell people were drawn to her and her bubbly, carefree personality.
It wasn’t until we got college, where our friendship blossomed even more. Who knew that this girl I had known for so many years would become my sister in matter of a week. We were in different Rho Gamma groups so we didn’t get to talk much during recruitment but I remember bid day like it was yesterday. The second I opened my bid, I scanned the room for her..only to find that she was already running over to me. And from that moment on, we were inseperable! We were each other’s first friend in KD and that’s how it was for several months. I refused to meet anyone else partly because I was nervous but also because I was convinced I already had the one person I needed. She had a way of making eating Wendy’s every night seem normal and this whole sorority thing seem easy. Without her I’m not sure how I would’ve survived freshman year, conquered my fear my singing in front of people, or kissed my college crush. Brooke had a way of calming my nerves in any situation and make me feel confident when I didn’t know what I was doing.
As you can tell, life with her was just more fun and its because of her that I chose to live every day to its fullest in her honor. I know her spirit lives on because I hear it in her brother and sister’s laugh, her dads jokes, and I see it in the twinkle of her moms eye. I feel it in the endless stories her friends share and every time I think about the times we cheered together, studied together, got ready together, went on socials together, and every time she let me borrow her clothes and her bed (even when she wasn’t home).
Even though I wish Brooke was still here, not a day goes by where I’m not thankful for the time we had when she was here….and honestly, if there’s ever a pizza around, I’ll close my eyes, take a deep breath, and part of me feels like she never left.
I love you Brookie, AOT always.
By Renee Burke
Live well, Laugh often and Love much. No phrase captures who Brooke was, like this one for me.
Six years ago a pretty teenager walked into my classroom. When I called roll, the voice I heard (I’ll try to do it) say “here” for Brooke Dawkins was not what I imagined. It was deep and raspy more like that of the Cookie Monster, not what one would expect from the petite 14-year-old beauty.
In typical Brooke fashion, she would make fun of herself for it, but I quickly learned that voice was perfect for her. It personified her strength.
She had a way of always making us laugh. Whether it was just being silly, singing aloud, signing everything Megan Fox, or somehow being in every picture, we treasured her company.
One funny thing I remember about Brooke, I hope this doesn’t get her in trouble, is the time she got two tickets out front of Blankner. The officer not only gave her a ticket for speeding, but also for not wearing shoes (many of you may know, she didn’t particularly like shoes).
While she was mad about the speeding ticket, she was irate and flabbergasted that he gave her a ticket for being shoeless. Come on – how many people do you know who can say they’ve been ticketed for driving barefoot? After stewing for just a few minutes, she soon had us all laughing at her story, especially because she was making fun of her feet. While I cannot remember exactly what she said, I can remember the enormous laughter pouring throughout the room.
Brooke’s self-deprecating sense of humor, and how she could brush the bad things off so quickly were such endearing qualities.
Her sense of humor and passion for life was much appreciated in the often-stressful Room 224 (also known as her yearbook home). Brooke had an instinctive sense of how to lighten the mood. When things got tough she’d find a way to entertain us.
For example, one of my favorite Saturday workdays when she encouraged chair racing in the hall. It started with just a few chairs, but when others heard the ruckus, it grew into the staff participating. Those who know Brooke, know she can be fiercely competitive and she wasn’t going to lose at chair races, especially when it was her idea. The holding, pushing and shoving the ensued made for good belly laughs.
Another thing that made us laugh was when she’d complain she didn’t have a boyfriend (which I never understood). Trust me, it’s not that boys didn’t like her; they LOVED her. Some of you in this room may remember the day when a boy opened the door to Room 224 and screamed in “I love you Brooke Dawkins.” This embarrassed her a little and delighted her a little, but completely entertained the rest of us.
Brooke’s influence and friends could easily span cliques. She could be a part of every group and was. She was popular, but not just part of the popular crowd; she was well loved by all. She didn’t have to fit into one crowd or gender stereotype for that matter. She could do her hair with the girls, and probably beat up half the guys in the room with those arms.
She was the perfect girl: beautiful, intelligent, funny, athletic, creative, honest, loyal and dedicated. She was girly enough to be admired by other girls (and to eventually join a sorority – so it’s obvious she could be proper when she needed to be), but tomboy enough to have belching contests against boys (of which she’d win). She was the whole package.
Brooke’s ability to balance her yearbook and cheerleading obligations, along with her academic course load, with such grace and efficiency consistently impressed me. Somehow she not only completed her own work, but she was always helping others. Whether it was fixing a story, taking photos for another staffer, tweaking a design or even assisting with calculus homework (oh, the Calculus homework!), she was there for those who needed her. Brooke wouldn’t let you down.
These are but a smidgen of stories I can tell about Brooke, who I was blessed to teach and spend four years with. I watched her grown from that pretty teenager into a beautiful woman. Her outer beauty, while clearly visible, wasn’t nearly a beautiful as the person she was inside. Her kindness to everyone, her laugh, her creativity, her ability to help others with patience, her sense of humor, her love of family and friends – these are all items that made Brooke the beautiful person she was.
It is very rare for someone in high school to be confident in and embrace her quirks, but she did. She could hold her own in whatever environment she was in. She was a critical member of the publications family, and many others it would seem. Not to mention she was a good editor, learned quickly, made deadlines, and communicated openly. She will be missed.
So, while her time with us was too short, I hope you can take comfort in knowing that while she was here, she Lived well, Loved much and Laughed often.