Orion Middle School promotes 81

Mindy Carls

This eighth grade class never had a normal year of middle school because of the pandemic, Principal Chad Bahnks told the audience at promotion exercises on Wednesday, May 25.

Scheduled for Central Park, promotion was moved to Orion High School when rain swept through the area.

The sixth and seventh grade band, directed by Lauren Heiberger, played Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance” as the processional.

Student Council President Hayden Gehring gave the welcome.

A little over halfway through sixth grade, the COVID-19 lockdown forced students and teachers into e-learning, she said.

As seventh graders, they returned to the building but were assigned to groups called pods that stayed together during the day, Gehring said.

This year something like a new normal arrived, especially after the mask mandate was dropped, she said.

Directed by Parker Haley, the seventh and eighth grade concert choir sang “Shine on Me” by Rollo Dillworth. The sixth, seventh and eighth grade band performed “A Million Dreams,” arranged by Paul Murtha, from “The Greatest Showman.”

Ali Taets and Jaret Rodriguez were presented with Citizenship Awards.

New freshmen leave the Orion High School stage following eighth grade promotion on Wednesday, May 25.

The top 10 percent of the class was introduced. They were Will Bowers, Kamryn Brown, Lexi Christensen, Maggie Dochterman, Autumn Hoftender, Abi Kayser, Claire Patterson and Ali Taets.

Bahnks presented leadership awards to four students. Kyler Owens and Hayden Gehring received the Principal’s Award from the Illinois Principals Association, and Maggie Dochterman and Max Larson received the Leadership Award from the Prairieland Conference.

After promotion certificates were presented, Abi Kayser gave the class farewell. She spoke about finding joy in every moment and lifting each other up as they developed resilience.

Bahnks said the class was going to do amazing things in high school.

The sixth and seventh grade band played “March Royale” by Mark Williams.