At 500 students, the Oregon Connections Academy’s (ORCA) Class of 2020 is the largest class in the school’s history.

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Oregon Connections Academy has honored nearly 500 seniors with a virtual graduation ceremony.

The Class of 2020 is the largest class in the school’s history and includes several students from Columbia County.

  • Hanna Russell, Columbia City 
  • Russell Ridenour, Deer Island
  • Joseph Hoffman, Saint Helens
  • Nicolas Brown, Scappoose
  • Theresa Hay, Scappoose
  • Benjamin Nikander, St. Helens

Although the commencement was moved online due to social distancing, the academy administrators said they created a memorable event which included many of the traditional elements of a graduation ceremony.

According to a release from the academy, this year’s graduating class has exciting plans for the future. Many have plans to attend two-or-four-year colleges or universities (45%). Several have plans to enter the workforce directly upon graduation (28%), attend vocational or technical programs (7%) or join the military (3%).

“This graduating Class of 2020 seniors and their families are way-makers; finding success in a challenging time,” Oregon Connections Academy High School Principal Matt Lacy said. “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 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, according to the release.

The school officials said the academy is the state’s longest-running tuition-free online public charter school. Beginning in the 2020-21 school year, Oregon Connections Academy will be changing its name to Oregon Charter Academy and operating under a different model, unaffiliated with Connections Academy.

For more information visit the school’s website at,, or call 1-877-691-9921.


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