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'The perfect sendoff': Wilsonville teen rides horse during 8th grade promotion

After a year of remote learning, a group of Wilsonville teens celebrated the end of middle school in style.

WILSONVILLE, Ore. — A group of eighth graders celebrated their promotion out of Meridian Creek Middle School in Wilsonville Friday. They circled around the parking lot with family before receiving their certificates.

“It is a special moment to be done with middle school years,” said assistant principal Kenny Ewbank. “We had kids coming through in convertibles, on the back of trucks and we even had Kaitlyn arrive on her horse.”

That horse would be “Tinkerbell.”

“This is just the perfect sendoff,” said Kaitlyn’s mother, Angie. The family preferred to keep their last name private.

“It seemed like the perfect opportunity when they said ‘ride-thru,’ so I took advantage of it!” said Kaitlyn.

Kaitlyn dressed Tinkerbell in school colors and led her proudly around the parking lot.

“It meant a lot,” said Kaitlyn. “That's what I was looking forward to the most because [Tinkerbell] helped me get here.”

Like her classmates, Kaitlyn spent most of her eighth grade year learning remotely. Her mom is grateful that’s over.

“It was hard,” said Angie. “I mean, who likes staring at a screen all the time? It was her horse that gave her every outlet she needed; if she was stressed or anxious or feeling down, it was off to the barn she went to spend time with Tinkerbell.”

And in those countless hours spent with her friend, Kaitlyn discovered what she loves most about horses — and then it all makes sense.

“They teach you how to persevere and how not to give up when it's hard,” said Kaitlyn. “You have to keep going until you get it right.”

Getting it right — and especially on this day, getting it done.

“When you make it through and get to the end, they really feel like they've accomplished something special,” said Ewbank.