Orondo honors eighth-graders

The eighth grade graduating class of 2018. (Empire Press photo/Darlene Paterson)


By Darlene Paterson
Empire Press Correspondent

Parents and friends fill the gymnasium for Orondo’s eighth grade graduation ceremony on June 7. (Empire Press photo/Darlene Paterson)

“We’re loud, we’re proud, we’re living the dream, we’re the class of 2018! These words — emblazoned across the program — opened the eighth grade bilingual graduation ceremonies at Orondo Middle School on June 7.

The second eighth grade class to graduate from Orondo consisted of 21 students. Most attended the school since preschool or early elementary.

Graduate Andrea Castillo attended Orondo since preschool and her friend, Cristal Valencia, started in first grade.

“I like that it is small,” Castillo said.

“Yeah, you pretty much know everybody here,” Valencia added.

Both girls agreed they are excited to graduate. Andrea will be attending Eastmont next year, while Cristal will attend high school in Chelan.

“I am going to miss everyone,” Valencia said. “We have been together since first grade.”

The evening began with a potluck picnic on the school grounds.

The school gymnasium was decorated with blue, white and gray balloons and streamers. Extra chairs were brought in to accommodate the large crowd who gathered for the festivities.

Following the processional, school Superintendent Dr. Ismael Vivanco welcomed the parents, relatives and friends.

“Our school is a center for community activities and our students and staff are a team committed to journeying together to reach our goals,” Vivanco said. “Learning targets challenge our students to reach their personal best. We are able to accomplish our goals due to the great teachers and staff and the support of our community and board of directors.”

Scott Shriner, treasurer of the Orondo Community Scholarships program, announced the 2018 scholarship winners.

“Orondo Community Scholarships has awarded 19 scholarships of $100 each,” Shriner said. “The scholarship committee was highly impressed with your essays,” he added, encouraging the students.

Shriner told the students they would receive their scholarship money after high school graduation when they applied for post secondary education at a college, trade or technical school.

“This experience in applying for the Promise Scholarship laid a foundation for applying for scholarships in the future,” he concluded.

Scholarship certificates were awarded to Denisse Bravo, Alondra Castillo, Andrea Castillo, Fernanda Garcia, Jose Garcia, Angel Garibay, Derick Garnica, Nancy Garnica, Alex Gonzalez, Angela Gonzales, Alejandra Hernandez, Esme Hernandez, Jannett Mata, Maria Parra, Cristal Ramirez, Pablo Ramirez, Luis Rodriguez, Frida Sandoval and Cristal Valencia.

School Principal Lance Young congratulated the eighth grade parents and students.

“Your success has come through hard work, dedication and perseverance,” he said. “I challenge you in the years ahead to surround yourself with people who push you to be a better person. Continue in the growth mindset. Express appreciation, forgive, show compassion, support those who have less and fight for your dreams with courage.”

Young concluded by telling the students they would always have a home at Orondo. “Never forget, you’re our friend always and forever.”

Student speakers Alondra Castillo and Maria Parra gave reflections on their years at Orondo. Castillo’s speech was delivered in Spanish and Parra gave an emotional speech in English.

“Orondo has been a wonderful place to attend school, a place where we feel safe and loved,” Parra said. “Having a small school with only one class per grade, we grew up with the same kids all through school. We were surrounded by the same people every day.”

She went on to tell about friends who made her life better, lifted her up and encouraged her to be the best she could be.

“This school will always be in my heart,” Parra concluded. “I have looked forward to this day, but now that it’s here, some part of me wants to stay. Everyone here is incredible.”

A slideshow featured pictures of students and teachers and brought cheers from the crowd.

Principal Young called upon Vivanco and former Superintendent Dr. Millie Watkins to assist in the handing out of diplomas. Middle school teachers also stood to congratulate the graduates. After students received diplomas, they gathered on the bleachers for pictures and well wishes.

The recessional, followed by family pictures and a cake reception ended the celebration.