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Performance space at HHS Auditorium becomes 'Tom Orr Stage'

Tom Orr is shown in his teaching days. Tom Orr is shown in his teaching days.

The stage at the renovated Hendersonville High School Auditorium will be named for the beloved teacher and mentor who directed so many memorable senior plays in the performance space.

The Henderson County School Board voted unanimously to accept the recommendation of schools Superintendent John Bryant to honor Thomas E. "Tom" Orr, the longtime English and theater teacher, former School Board member, creator of local history dramas and founder of the Walk of Fame.

"This board has received considerable interest in the recognition of Mr. Tom Orr," Bryant said. "Mr. Orr was an exceptional member of our educational community, a board member, a leader in our community and someone who taught and served with absolute grace. And through that continued process and dialogue, the Board gave me direction to engage stakeholders and stakeholder input about an appropriate way in which we might recognize Mr. Orr's contribution."

"Hendersonville High School Auditorium was a place of very special tradition. It is central to so many of the programs, the activities, and really what it means to be an alumni of Hendersonville High School," he said. "And so, as the board gives consideration to recognize the stage in his honor, it means every time and every activity and every moment someone's 'on the boards,' as they say in the theater, we will be honoring and recognizing his contributions and service."

Board Chairman Blair Craven heartily endorsed the honor.

"This is long due and long overdue and and I'm happy that as an alumnus of HHS that we can name this in his honor and that we will be performing on the Tom Orr Stage," he said.

When supporters of Orr petitioned the School Board to name the auditorium for Orr, the board directed Bryant to study the school naming policy and come back with a recommendation. The recommendation was based on "much discussion, much deliberation, much input from community members, alumni, stakeholders, staff, administration and district leadership," he said.