2022 Graduation: Behind the Scenes


Brielle Knapp

The 2022 takes place on June 9th at Pesonen Stadium at 7pm.

Graduation is right around the corner for Orono High School’s class of seniors. With AP testing ending and classes coming to a close, students all over the school are buzzing with excitement.

“It’s a bit bittersweet. I’m excited for what lies ahead, but it will also be hard to say goodbye to everyone I’ve been with for the past 13 years. I have no ‘final tests’, all of my finals are projects. I took AP US History this year because I hadn’t my sophomore year, but that test is done so I don’t have much left,” OHS senior Patrick McCabe said.

The school cuts some slack for the seniors as their last year wraps up, but not so much for the underclassmen who still have a few years left to go.

“I have a project in one of my AP’s to do and in my other we have time to rewrite essays and work on our portfolios. I have finals left in most classes but none in my APs which is surprising. I probably have about 4 finals,” OHS sophomore Kate Swenson said.

Now let’s take a look at what goes into planning graduation:

Students get their cap and gowns on May 19, but the orchestration of that starts way earlier in the fall, at the start of the school year..

During the first semester students are sent a link to sign up for their cap and gown.

“The cap and gown packages are free but all students are sent the URL link to the Jostens site where they need to enter their height and weight so the right size gown can be ordered. We have to send the seniors a lot of reminders before we get them all to order. The deadline is usually around Dec 15,” OHS Administrative Assistant Emmie Kahl-Johnson said.

Once the cap and gowns arrive at the school, a Jostens representative comes in during lunch to pass them out.

During graduation day, seniors and staff are running on a strict schedule from 8am to 7pm. Starting at 8:15am in the OHS mezzanine, seniors meet before the walkthrough of the middle, elementary, and intermediate schools to greet younger students. Following that, seniors meet back in the gym to rehearse the graduation ceremony at 9:15am. The seniors are then released for the day until 7pm when the graduation ceremony commences.

“Some other people that usually join us are the junior escorts. There are usually four juniors, who are at the top of their class, who are invited to help us lead the graduates through the whole ceremony. They act as the graduate ushers, and I teach them what they need to do, it’s definitely partly for the graduates because they are usually very distracted. Then we go through the whole ceremony, we run through the full list of names so that the counselors can make any final adjustments,” OHS English teacher Jessica Frie said.

The junior ushers are there to direct the seniors what to do and where to walk, which takes the stress off of the graduates who are just too excited for the ceremony to pay close attention.

OHS Senior Jenna Muth was a junior usher last year and gives an in depth look into what being an usher looks like.

“Frie taught us how to do it and we had to do a full practice in the gym, then we went down to the turf and it was like 100 degrees down there, and we watched the crane thing drop the risers and Steiner turns to me and says ‘good thing we’re gonna get new turf soon’ and then we had to do the whole ceremony practice again in the heat,” Muth said.

Make sure you come to the ceremony on June 9 at 7pm at Pesonen Stadium to support your seniors!