Orondo School staff retiring

Retiring Orondo School staff are, from left, Linda Sorensen, Dr. Millie Watkins, Rick Mayo and Kristi Reiber. (Provided photo/Lance Young)


By Darlene Paterson
Empire Press Correspondent

A retirement party will be held at Orondo School June 15 at 6 p.m. to honor four retiring staff members. Current and former staff, their families and the entire Orondo community are invited to attend.

Newly appointed school Principal Lance Young said, “Bring whatever you wish to contribute to the potluck meal and join us as we honor our retirees. The celebration will be held outdoors, weather permitting.”

The four retiring include Dr. Millie Watkins, superintendent/principal; Linda Sorensen, business manager; Rick Mayo, director of transportation and maintenance; and Kristi Reiber, food services manager.

The evening will include words of thanks to each retiring staff member and an opportunity for community and staff to also express appreciation.

“The past 14 years at Orondo has been the highlight of my career,” Watkins said. “I have so many wonderful memories. It was clear from the beginning that this is a community that cares about the school and the children. This has been shown in so many ways, whether it is the enthusiasm at bingo nights, the support at home volleyball games or the participation in other school events.

“One significant memory for me is the 125th anniversary celebration. We worked with several community members, under the direction of Paul Davies, to create a historical display in the gym. Paul also put together a big fireworks display to close the evening.

“Then there was the Orondo Strong event in 2015 when the community came together to recognize those involved in the horrible bus accident. Though not a good memory in terms of the tragedy, the way the community came together afterwards was truly heartwarming.

“It has been so gratifying to work with a team of wonderful people here at Orondo. Each one chooses to be here because they want to make a difference. Through thoughtful collaboration, they are always ready to improve, always ready to find new strategies. It has been very encouraging.”

Business manager Linda Sorensen said, “I have enjoyed working here for the past 22 years. The people are caring, compassionate and forgiving. It has been a wonderful place to work. I love the pleasant drive along the river from Wenatchee, too. It gets me in the right mindset to work.”

Regarding future plans, Sorensen adds, “I am going to take at least three weeks to rest and settle in before I make any decisions. My husband retired three years ago, so we are looking forward to seeing each other more and maybe do some traveling.”

Kristi Reiber has worked at Orondo School for 28 years starting at the old school as a para-professional to Gail Worthen. She became food services manager when the new school was built. She plans to spend more time with her grandchildren and enjoy retirement.

“I have truly enjoyed my time at Orondo,” Reiber said. “It’s been amazing to watch the changes through the years. The Orondo staff is one big family that I will truly miss.”

Rick Mayo has worked at the school for a total of 20 years, serving as director of transportation and maintenance for 15 years. His retirement plans include travel, fishing and gardening.

Young said all positions except that of food service manager have been filled and new employees are currently working alongside those retiring to learn their new jobs.

Watkins retires the end of June, Mayo and Sorensen at the end of August, and Reiber will retire when the school year is finished.