Starting in preschool, Orchard students are given multiple opportunities to speak in front of their peers and teachers, as well as the broader community. This important life skill is nurtured throughout a student's journey at Orchard, which ultimately leads to a well-rounded individual who is confident and comfortable with their thoughts.
At the end of each year, our eighth grade students give a reflection speech in front of nearly 200 people during the graduation ceremonies. It’s wonderful to watch these creative and compassionate young adults speak with such poise as they reminisce about their educational foundation.
Read below to find out what Orchard means to the students who experienced Progressive education firsthand.Bryson
"I would like to thank all the teachers for helping to guide me and push me to always do my best. Next, I would like to thank Dr. Helvie (Head of School) for her support and love. Lastly, I’d like to thank the 51 outstanding students behind me. Without every single one of you this journey would not have been the same. I will never forget you." Arabella
"I didn’t know a school could be fun until I came to Orchard. My old school taught me many important things about my faith and respect, but I didn’t get nearly as much out of it as I did with Orchard. Orchard has taught me so many things that I have taken for granted about the Earth and nature, and the school has made learning fun in all classes. It has pushed me out of my comfort zone. It has forced me to be creative and think outside of the box. Orchard has also taught me confidence, whether it’s speaking in front of people or just standing up for what I believe in."
"In two short years, I learned how to harness my creativity. I found friends who, for the first time in my life, allowed me to share my faults and fears. I travelled to the other side of the world. I saw a culture that gave me perspective on my own life then anything I have ever done. I’ve discovered the young woman I have always known that is inside me.
It is impossible to overstate how grateful I am for the people here at Orchard who have helped me in my path for the better. Orchard will always be a home to me.
I have three younger siblings who are behind me here at Orchard. I will continue to talk to them everyday and make sure they appreciate the opportunity they have to grow up here.
Orchard is the best thing that has ever happened to me." C.J.
"First of all I’d like to thank my parents for supporting me and sending me here to this wonderful school. Second, I would like to thank my teachers for making learning engaging and fun, and fully preparing me for high school and beyond. Lastly, I’d like to thank my friends for making it very fun the entire time." Eva
"I want to thank my friends for loving me and helping me through the good and bad. Also, my teachers for supporting me and all my work that I do, and helping me achieve my goals.
And the lunch staff for making us lunch every day and working their hardest." Isaac
"Orchard has truly been a blessing to me and my family and there is no place I’d rather call home. Thank you for all you have done. I am the young man I am today because of all of you. The gratitude I have for the people at this school is unmatched.
And to my fellow classmates, never hesitate to reach out to me to relive our Orchard days. If you ever need help with anything, I’d love to give back to those who have given me so much. Thank you." Lydia
"I have been at Orchard since I was three, which means I have been part of this community for over 11 years. I would like to start off by thanking my parents for making a wonderful decision to enroll me in this school when I was just a little girl. I’m happy to tell you guys that you made a great choice sending me to Orchard.
I would first like to thank Mr. Chandler. You are an amazing science teacher that has always pushed me to ask questions and to always be hungry for me knowledge. And I also love your genuine excitement and interest in the topics that you teach."Hayden
"Orchard provides so many opportunities that you just can’t find anywhere else and I’d like to thank my teachers for helping me along the way. I wish the Class of 2019 good luck, not only in high school, but wherever life may take them."
"I’d like to thank all my teachers for helping me and showing me that learning is actually fun. I’d also like to thank Mr. Burris (Athletic Director, Teacher, Coach) for teaching me how to really channel my gifts into running, and that it is a lifelong thing." Andrea
"Throughout my time at Orchard I’ve made so many incredible memories and have been given so many great opportunities to learn, grow, and chase after my passions.
I’d like to thank each and every single teacher I’ve had over the years. Not only have they helped me grow in my education, but they’ve allowed me to embark on life changing experiences that I will forever be grateful for and will always remember." Ella
"I’d like to thank my advisor, Lisa Pryor, for redefining what it is to be a woman. And for being my best friend!" Thomas
"I would like to thank my parents for sending me to this wonderful school…and my grandmother for always making sure I arrived there on time.
I would like to thank my advisors for helping me through the difficulty of middle school. In particular, I would like to thank Mr. Chandler and Mr. Mitchell for not only being wonderful science teachers, but also wonderful advisors and friends."*The average eighth grade speech is around 1 to 3 minutes. These are quotes pulled from a handful of students from the Class of 2019.