Orion graduates 78 seniors

Mindy Carls
During Orion’s graduation on Sunday, May 23, seniors joined concert band to perform “Fiesta La Vida” on the track at Charger Field
Senior vocalists perform “We’re All in This Together” from “High School Musical” during Orion’s graduation on Sunday, May 23, at Charger Field.
Passing the lancer (far left, festooned with class banners) is an important tradition at Orion High School graduations. On Sunday, May 23, senior class president Lily Moen, left, presented the banner to junior class president Madison Greenwood, right, as Principal Nathan DeBaillie, center, watches. The banner for 2021 features a coronavirus cell in place of the zero.

Orion High School awarded diplomas to 78 seniors on Sunday afternoon, May 23, at Charger Field.

If the symbol of last year’s ceremony, also at Charger Field, was a mask, the symbol this year was the umbrella needed during the middle of the ceremony.

“I guess this is what 15 percent chance of rain looks like,” Principal Nathan DeBaillie said. In the audience, a man arriving late said, “It’s not even raining in the parking lot.”

Valedictorian Noah Seys, reading a speech printed out while the forecast for Sunday afternoon did not call for rain, said, “What’s the purpose of rain falling on us? Sure, there’s a reason why it falls on us. It’s because droplets in the air condense onto one another and create a raindrop that falls and hits you because you’re in its path. But what’s the purpose? Nothing, the rain just falls.”

After Seys finished speaking, DeBaillie said, “Noah, your future plans may be undecided, but you could become a meteorologist.”

Superintendent Joe Blessman said, “It’s raining. I expect nothing less for the Class of 2021. Thank you, seniors, for leading the rest of the students to the finish line.”

As the ceremony began, DeBaillie said masks were not required for fully-vaccinated people.

“It’s so nice to finally welcome a large crowd back to Orion High School,” he said.

Although the pandemic is fading into history, COVID-19 received its props.

The class motto was “Stay positive, test negative.”

Senior Nickie Kettler designed the cover of the graduation program. The number 0 wore a graduation cap and a mask, while the number 1 was a diploma rolled up with a bow.

The banner for the Class of 2021 on the lancer featured a coronavirus cell in place of the zero.

Senior Hannah Passno sang “The Star-Spangled Banner” to open the ceremony.

Directed by Lauren Heiberger, the high school’s concert band played Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” as the seniors processed from the school onto the bleachers at Charger Field.

Peter Nedved, president of the Orion school board, gave the first address.

Senior class president Lily Moen delivered the welcome speech.

Moen then presented the lancer to junior class president Madison Greenwood. Festooned with banners representing each class, the lancer represents the best traditions of the high school.

Seniors joined concert band to perform “Fiesta La Vida” by Robert Smith. The senior vocalists, directed by Parker Haley, sang “We’re All in This Together” from “High School Musical.”

DeBaillie introduced the top 10 percent of the class, including Maryn Bollinger, Noelle Carlson, Riley Filler, Nickie Kettler, Sarah Marshall, Lily Moen and Rachel VanDuyne.

Highest honors were presented to Abbey Grems and Anna Silversmet.

Noah Seys was named valedictorian.

DeBaillie also had seniors stand if they were in National Honors Society or received awards and scholarships at academic awards night on Wednesday, May 12.

He introduced the entire class individually, with each senior standing in place when their names were called.

Student Class President Riley Filler gave the farewell address.

During the recessional, the concert band played King’s “Call to Victory.”

Graduates left the bleachers one at a time. Each moved the tassel over, picked up a rose and received a diploma cover from a school board member. Their diplomas were available from school staff in the ticket booth.

During the recessional on Sunday, May 23, Abigail Schuler moves her tassel to the other side before taking a flower and receiving her diploma as Orion’s graduation concludes at Charger Field
Orion High School seniors spread out during graduation on Sunday, May 23, at Charger Field.
Orion seniors process from the high school to the bleachers for graduation on Sunday, May 23, at Charger Field

Receiving diplomas on Sunday were:

Abram Robert Anderson, Calvin Michael Armoska, Ashley L. Awbrey, Maryn Irene Bollinger, Luciano Lee Bradley, Kiliegh Rae Burge, Adam J. Burgert, Emily Jane Canterbury, Noelle Alustriel Carlson, Sarah Ann DeLille, Jenna Elizabeth Drish, William Michael Dunlap, Nathanial Jordan Engeman, Joshua Michael Fair, Madison R. Farr-Schroeder, Weston R. Ferry, Riley Elaine Filler, Jacob Wendell Frederickson, Abigail Paige Grems.

Suveah Raquel Gritton, Gavin James Hamerlinck, Kaden Patrick Hass-Meguffy, Brandon Scott Houdyshell, Jamelyn Claire Hoxsey, Tyler M. Hunt, Makayla Marie Jackson, Hailey Lynn James, Jayson M. Johnson, Elijah Nicholas Kayser, Nicole Payton Kettler, Logan Matthew Kohn, Katira Lynn Kratzberg, Chad Everett Kruse, Carter J. LaBelle, Cullen Lee Langley, Will Thomas Lawson, Marly J. Lillibridge, Hayden Alan Lilly.

Sarah Baillie Marshall, Braydi A. Mascari, Daunte Thomas McDowell, Collin D. Meisenburg, Lily Katherine Moen, Nathanael E. Monzon, Ethan Patrick Moran, Devin Lee Nelson, William S. Nissen, Avery Elizabeth Noble, Ella Kay Oliva, Joshua P. Parsons, Hannah E. Passno, Sydney Marie Perkins, Brady L. Peterson, Kian Walsh Pfannenstiel, Katelynn Lee Pruett, Macenzie R. Ratliff, Wyatt S.M. Reed, Zachery N. Riddell.

Shaw A.M. Ringier, Brayden Michael Rodney, Nathan A. Schmoll, Noah Amador Schnerre, Ethan Joseph Schoutteet, Abigail Christine Schuler, Coby Daniel Schultz, Noah Shawn Seys, Ashley M. Shewell, Anna Rose Silversmet, Claire L. Smith, Adrian J. Sowers, Joshua Lee Spranger, Nicholas D. Stumphy, Jarrett S. Thornburg, McKenna Lynn Unger, Rachel Grace VanDuyne, Molly Lynn Vestal, Elaina Victoria Ward, Cade Thomas Weiss.

Junior marshals were Maggie Nedved and Izzy Nordstrom, and junior ushers were Quinn Hoftender, Gabe Laleman, Chloe Rittenhouse, Sophie Selander, Chance Stropes and Abby Watson. They rank in the top 10 percent of the class.