School board honors retiring principal
Orion Middle School’s principal, Gary Heard, received congratulations on his imminent retirement from school board members at their regular meeting on Wednesday, June 15.
At the end of the final report of his career, Heard told the board, “The 12 years here with Orion have been very rewarding.”
During his time at Orion, Heard said he had gotten to know many families and businesses in the district.
“There are going to be some sad moments,” he said of his final days at OMS.
“Thank you for your service,” board president Doug Nelson said.
When Heard became principal, the old middle school was still in use, Nelson said. He helped obtain voter approval of a bond issue to pay for a new building.
Heard helped manage the design and construction of the new school, the board president said.
And Heard helped steer OMS through financial challenges, Nelson said.
“You’ve gone from no money to some money to tight money,” the board president said.
The board took a few minutes to enjoy with Heard the refreshments that board secretary Bobbi Thomsen made. She topped cupcakes with plastic cowboys and gunfighters, and she made cookies shaped like ponies.
A sign on the back of Heard’s chair said, “The Cowboy’s Last Stand.”
Thomsen drew her inspiration from the first thing Heard said 12 years ago in the superintendent’s office.
“The cowboy’s in town,” she recalled. “That’s the first thing he said.”
Heard’s final day was Monday, June 20. One of his last accomplishments was finishing the courtyard at OMS.
Memorial funds for Billy Barger and Louise Theuninck paid for benches and plaques in the courtyard, as well as books for the library.
C.R. Hanna parking
A gravel parking area across the street from C.R. Hanna Elementary School has eroded, superintendent Dave Deets said. During heavy rains, water fills a valley running the length of the parking area. Also, it is hard to back out onto the street during “rush hour” before and after school.
The district has received a bid of $8,900 to put in a rock base that would eliminate low spots and allow people to drive forward and pull around instead of having to back up, Deets said.
Board member Karl Kane asked Deets to contact the Village of Orion about its plans for the street.
R.C. Lowe, the principal at C.R. Hanna, said changing the morning bus schedule helped reduce problems.
Instead of waiting on the bus 15 to 20 minutes in front of the school, the students now go into the building for the 8 a.m. start of classes, the principal said.
This change has resulted in fewer referrals from bus drivers, he said.
Given the number of students who attend C.R. Hanna, the school has few discipline reports, board member Larry Atkinson said.
Orion High School principal Nathan DeBaillie said a handful of students account for most of the referrals.
Typical problems include tardiness to school and to class, and use of cell phones, DeBaillie said.
At OMS, referrals are issued for tardiness, chewing gum, and horseplay, Heard said.