Comanche Garcia, Bellwood-Antis Class of 1994, will be the 2016 commencement speaker at graduation ceremonies Thursday, June 2 at 7 p.m. at Memorial Field.
Garcia currently works as a guard at Rockview State Prison. He was enlisted in the Marine Corps where he received the Bronze Star Medal for exceptionally meritorious service while assigned as a combat logistic patrol leader during Operation Iraqi Freedom.
He served two tours of duty in the Middle East from 2005-2006 and 2008-2009.
As a student at Lock Haven University in the mid-1990s, Garcia was a two-time national champion boxer.
Garcia is very excited to be the commencement speaker for the 2016 graduating class.
“I’m very honored. This is a once in a lifetime experience,” said Comanche.
He’s been preparing his message for the commencement speech and it will be on preparing for a world of change, a subject with which Garcia is quite familiar.
Other speakers at Commencement include Valedictorian Kerri Little and Salutatorian Laycee Clark, as well as Revel Southwell, the President of the Class of 2016.
When Garcia was a small boy, he watched as his mother and 15-year old brother were shot and killed right before his very eyes while living in the Bronx, N.Y. He was the main witness at a double murder trial that convicted two men who carried out the killings, and put them in jail for 15 years.
He made his way to Bellwood as a participant in the Fresh Air Fund, living with the Boyer family, which later adopted him when he was 10.
At Bellwood-Antis High School, he was a star on the football field and track while immersing himself in student life.
In January, Garcia, who still lives in Bellwood, was the subject of an award-winning featured alumni story published in the BluePrint and written by Nathan Davis.