I met Kathryn Orr at a coffee shop in Valpo. The first thing I noticed about Miss Orr was her infectious smile. She cheerfully introduced herself to me, and we sat down to discuss a very interesting topic: her. Orr is a sophomore at Purdue University North Central Campus studying Management and Accounting. She has been participating in Kiwanis through school clubs since she was in middle school. Orr talked to me about becoming involved with the organization.
“My friends got me into Builders Club, and it stuck ever since,” Orr explained. “In school it was great because I got to see all my friends because they were mostly all in the club. It was really great to be able to go out on the weekends and do the leaf-raking or the Pack-a-thon. Now it means so much more because I realize how much I was able to grow as a leader in those clubs.”
Orr did learn how to be a leader, and it is a good thing she did. When Orr was a sophomore at Valparaiso High School she was encouraged by then-advisor Mrs. Olga Granat to run for Secretary of KEY Club (that is, Kiwanis Educating Youth, a community service club for high school students). The next year she was elected President of the club, where she learned even more about organization, leading, encouraging, and public speaking. This has helped Orr as she continued her education, and it has also helped her take on a new challenge within KEY Club. Recently, the club has been in need of an advisor and Orr stepped up to help keep things going.
“I am doing what Mrs. Granat was for me, she was our advisor, and now I get to go back and I am that advisor, it’s kind of cool,” Orr said. “In order for the club to keep functioning and have meetings they had to have someone as their advisor. I actually found out about it from Facebook. The current President posted a status about it, and I asked her if there was anything I could do to help, and little did I know it would turn into being an advisor, which I am really grateful for, and I didn’t expect. It’s kind of cool to think that what Mrs. Granat did for me I might be able to do for someone else.”
I am most certain that Orr will inspire many more KEY Clubbers since she has certainly inspired me. In addition to attending PNC, Orr holds a managerial position at a retailer in Valpo, she is involved in student government, she is a member of the PNC Circle K (another Kiwanis club, this one for college students), and on top of that has taken on the responsibility of being the advisor to the VHS KEY Club. How does a girl with so much on her plate keep it all together? She gives a lot of credit to her extremely supportive family.
“My mom, Teri Orr, has inspired me beyond belief,” Orr stated emphatically. “She has been there to support me through everything from Builder's Club all the way to Circle K. She's there for me when I have a rough day or get a promotion at work. When I was the secretary of Key Club, she would help me organize all of the paperwork and count the total hours of service for every member, now she's giving me advice on how to be a role model to the kids at VHS and others in my community. I love being able to come home and talk to her because she always has the best advice.”
Orr then spoke of her other family members.
“My dad, Todd Orr, will stop by when I'm at work just to see how my day’s going and to occasionally bring me lunch,” Orr said. “My brother, Tyler Orr, who's a junior at VHS, comes to the KEY Club meetings and will bring all of his friends to support me.”
It is easy to see how much Orr loves being involved in community, both through these Kiwanis clubs and in her educational life. When I asked her about PNC she told me that she loves the feel of the small campus. She expressed how nice it feels to be able to help her fellow students and learn together in a constructive community, rather than just compete for the highest grades, the way she felt on a larger campus. Community and service are deeply engrained in Orr’s values, and it shows in her personality. She is bright, cheerful, friendly, and truly delightful to speak with. With these characteristics and values there is nothing stopping Orr from delving even deeper into serving our community; Kathryn Orr is, and certainly will continue to be, a Valpo Life in the Spotlight.
To find out more about the VHS Key Club click here!