News That Matters To Antelope County - Your News. Your Way. Every Day!
© Pitzer Digital, LLC
Through all the seasons in the sun, the teachers and staff at Orchard Public Schools work to provide a safe and supportive atmosphere for their students.
This is why they are joining the ranks of the 2017 two oldest and two youngest Orchard community members and the 2016 eight organ donors and recipients who were the previous grand marshals in the Orchard Celebration Days parade.
“The reason we chose the Orchard teachers/staff is because we wanted to show them that our community is here to support them, and how very grateful we are of what they do for our kids in and out of the classroom,” Kristi Schutt, community club member, said.
The community club doesn’t have a particular criteria for selecting the grand marshal of the annual parade, but Schutt explained that the club talks about which person or group would be good as grand marshal. The group also tries to select the grand marshal around the theme for the celebration. This year’s theme is “Seasons in the Sun.”
“Our teachers and staff work with the kids during all the seasons in the sun,” Schutt said. “From the school year in August, on through fall, winter and spring, our teachers are continuously providing a supportive presence that guides our students toward success.”
Cathy Cooper, Orchard Public School’s principal, was thrilled with the honor.
“I was pretty excited, but I don’t think it really surprised me because our board of education and our community have been so supportive of us,” she said.
The board of education has been known to provide food for the staff and faculty at Orchard Public Schools on occasion, like during the staff appreciation breakfast where the staff were recognized for their years of service.
“They seem to really appreciate everything that our faculty and staff do for our school and community and for our students, so this is just one more way that our community is supporting us,” Cooper said.
During the parade, nearly 20 Orchard Public School staff and faculty members rode on a flatbed at the start of the parade, behind the American Legion members and Legion riders. They also wore their matching “I Love Public Schools” shirts.
Cooper added that the teachers and staff tell her “that they are so appreciative of the board and the community and how supportive they are.”
“It makes for a lot better atmosphere at school when they know they have the support of everybody,” she said.
Cooper spoke highly of the faculty and staff at Orchard, saying, “I have real tight-knight faculty and staff, and they’re very supportive of one another and jump in to help each other out at any turn, and that’s great - I love that. I couldn’t be more proud of the people that I get to work with.”
After splitting from Clearwater for the 2017-18 school year, Cooper said it was difficult to reinstate themselves as Orchard Public Schools, but she said that the support “has even doubled,” she said.
“I think the number one goal of everybody in our building, and our board included, was that we needed to create a positive, supportive atmosphere for our kids because we don’t want the split to adversely affect them in any way,” she said. “We wanted them to be excited about coming to Orchard and excited to be back in school and involved in everything that we have.”
Cooper said that the staff and faculty have built a really good rapport with the students. “I think they’ll be excited to see us all out there in the parade,” she said.
First grade teacher Cheryl Schwager said she was excited when she heard that the faculty and staff was selected as the grand marshal this year.
“The annual parade is an expression on the heart and soul of this community,” Schwager said.
Third grade teacher Karley Jackson said being selected as the grand marshals for this year’s parade is “a huge honor.”
“It goes to show how much pride this community has in our school and the appreciation they have for what we do,” Jackson said. “We have a great faculty and staff in our community. We are all very lucky to be entrusted with the future of Orchard everyday in our classrooms.”