Columbia County seniors celebrate graduation from Oregon Connections Academy
While many high school students in Columbia County got their first taste of online learning this spring — a change forced on them by the shutdown of schools in response to the COVID-19 pandemic — another group had been doing it all along.
On Wednesday, June 24, six Columbia County residents celebrated their graduation — held virtually — from Oregon Connections Academy, the state's longest-running tuition-free online public charter school. Their graduation, part of a class of nearly 500 seniors, marked ORCA's largest-ever senior class.
Although the commencement was moved online due to social distancing requirements, the school's commencement event still included many traditional elements of a graduation ceremony.
Columbia County graduates from the class of 2020 included:
• Hanna Russell, Columbia City
• Russell Ridenour, Deer Island
• Joseph Hoffman, St. Helens
• Nicolas Brown, Scappoose
• Theresa Hay, Scappoose
• Benjamin Nikander, St. Helens
"This graduating class of 2020 seniors and their families are way-makers; finding success in a challenging time," said Matt Lacy, high school principal. "Our teachers and staff have been stalwarts, ensuring high-quality education and individualized attention to each student in an uncertain time."
This year's graduating class represents the largest in school history, a 13% increase from the Class of 2019 and a 19% jump from three years ago.
Oregon Connections Academy serves a wide variety of students throughout the state, providing an innovative and flexible learning environment for more than 4,600 pupils. For more information, visit oregoncharter.org or call 1-877-691-9921.
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