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Stephanie March, Orono High School Class of 1989, has been recognized as this year’s Distinguished Alumni and Justin McCoy, OHS Class of 2002, as this year’s Promising Alumni. The pair were honored at an October 14 breakfast at Woodhill Country Club Barn.
March is senior editor and food and dining editor of Mpls.-St. Paul Magazine. “I loved my own time at Orono and truly believed it helped shape me into who I am,” she says. “I’m very proud to have brought my kids into the district, moving back specifically because I knew the schools would be a place where they could take whatever path they desired and create their own destinies.
“Most importantly,” she adds, “I think we have a duty to use our good fortunes to create change in the world and funnel our creativities into helping others who couldn’t benefit from the same education and opportunities that we did. We need to pay it forward and, while finding our ways to become successful humans, bring as many others as we can along on the ride.”
McCoy is the coordinator of facilities and safety for Orono Schools. “The Orono Foundation started while I was in high school as a result of a large budget deficit. Many of my experiences and the experiences of all students following me would have a different look because the state funding formula isn’t enough for the excellence we each expect for our students at Orono,” he says.
“Growing up as a police officer and firefighter’s son often meant fatherless meals, parties and evenings,” he adds. “As some may see this as a sacrifice, which it was, I learned the importance of others before self and always helping those in need.”
In addition to celebrating all Orono alums, the breakfast raised scholarship funds to award to this year’s seniors. March has chosen the scholarship area of a student who will study writing or journalism with a focus on international/global studies. McCoy has chosen the scholarship to be awarded to a student who is going into public service or safety with a police or fire focus. Scholarships will be announced in May 2018 to seniors who participate in the application process.
Annually, the foundation grants an estimated $10,000 to Orono High School seniors. Since the inception of the foundation in 2000, more than $150,000 in scholarships have been granted.
Past Distinguished Alumni Award recipients attending the breakfast included Independence Mayor Marvin Johnson (Class of 1953) and 1997 recipient, and Spring Park Mayor Jerry Rockvam (Class of 1957) and 2005 recipient. Also in attendance were Maple Plain Mayor Julie Maas-Kusske (Class of 1993), Orono Mayor Dennis Walsh and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Karen Orcutt.
“The breakfast was a great celebration of decades of Orono alumni, with about 60 people in attendance from the Class of 2014 to the Class of 1953,” says Jeanne Morrison Cook (Class of 1983), who organized the event for the foundation. “We hope to continue to grow our awareness and attendance as the Orono Alumni Association hosts this All-Class Breakfast every year during Homecoming Week.”
To support foundation scholarships and/or submit nominees for the 2018 awards, please contact Cook at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.oronofoundation.org.