Orange Nation builds pride, community involvement


Catherine Hodge

Orange Nation sponsor Matt Johnson and Wally the Wolverine during the Pledge at Mill Madness on September 12.

Kola Akinnibi

“ORANGE NATION!” *clap clap clap clap clap* “ORANGE NATION!” *clap clap clap clap clap.*

You can catch science teacher Matt Johnson leading Watkins Mill High School’s most famous chant at football games this fall. 

Johnson was a paraeducator at The Mill for five years before he became a science teacher three years ago. Johnson is Orange Nation’s official leader and staff representative.  According to Johnson, he showed “a kind of fun energy” when it came to school spirit. “The administration asked if I would like to take on Orange Nation to help build the spirit a little more,” Johnson said.

Senior Aaron Merlos became Orange Nation’s student leader this year when he decided to sign up for the spirit group last year. Merlos is in charge of social media and getting information out to the students of Watkins Mill.

Johnson describes Orange Nation as not just the school’s student section that screams at sports events, but a “community organization that’s designed to bring together sports teams, extracurricular clubs, performance groups, teachers, students, and the entire community of cluster schools.”

Orange Nation isn’t only led by Johnson, but also senior leaders that represent Orange Nation. Some of these leaders attended The Mill’s Youth Summit this summer to get to know freshmen and welcome them into the community before school started. These students worked to plan fundraisers to prepare for events like Mill Madness.

A major goal for Orange Nation is to include the cluster schools in events, making them feel a part of the community before they even get here. Upcoming visits to cluster schools, a Homecoming tailgate, game night, and of course Rock the Block are all events meant to include the community.

Because of the 400 students who attended this school year’s Mill Madness, Johnson is sure that the student body will “continue to build on progress from last year” by showing up to Orange Nation spirit events throughout the year.

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