Ocracoke School graduates ten seniors
By Peter Vankevich
Ocracoke School graduates are, from left, Alin Villaneuva, Alma Flores, Wyatt Norris, Logan Jenkins, Kade Nagakane, Adam Carter, Zoe Huppert, Andrew Tillett, Amanda Gaskins and Carlos DeLao. Photo courtesy of Ocracoke School.
One could only speculate on the memories flashing through the ten seniors as they entered the packed gym to the haunting melody of Sir Edward Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance No.1.” For those in the audience, it was one more time to celebrate the graduates’ many achievements and not just for the many exciting basketball and volleyball games they provided.
“They have certainly set a high bar of accomplishments for future classes,” noted Principal Walter Padgett. “High academics, excelling in sports and being active in the community are the attributes with which this class will be remembered.” Eight of the graduates are immediately going on to higher education.
Zoe Huppert gave the Salutatory Address praising the character and positive personality of her classmates.
For the Valedictory address, Andrew Tillett gave a thought-provoking speech on what he and his classmates should expect in the near future. Citing the Allegory of the Cave from Plato’s “Republic,” he described prisoners confined since childhood to a cave who can only see silhouettes of people who pass by.
Eventually, they become free to join the world of light which initially is blinding, but eventually they become accustomed to the brightness and come to realize the limits of the cave.
“After today,” he noted, “not only will we be finished with high school, but we will be finished with our time in the cave.”
Near his conclusion, he added, “Our own steps into the light are guided by those who are already there–our parents and our teachers.
“I would like to thank all of you, for everything you have done. It was pivotal in helping us all during our time here at Ocracoke.”
Jason Wells, co-owner of Jason’s Restaurant, coach of the middle school basketball team and a Boy Scout troop leader, was selected by the seniors to deliver the commencement address.
He encouraged them to make the right decisions, but when they don’t to keep on trying, and especially to love themselves.
Amanda Gaskins continued the school tradition of the transfer of colors to incoming freshman Darvin Contreras.
Stella O’Neal, who has been involved in many civic, church and school activities over the years, was honored with the Community Service Award, which has been part of the graduation ceremony since 1976.
As testimony to the academic strengths of this class, when it came time to announce the scholarships, the graduates received a total of $82,588, the highest being the $30,000 George and Frances London Scholarship awarded to Tillett.
The graduates and schools they will attend are as follows:
Samuel Adam Carter, Cape Fear Community College, Wilmington
Carlos Enrique DeLao, work force
Alma Esmeralda Flores, East Carolina University, Greenville
Amanda Lynn Gaskins, East Carolina University, Greenville
Zoe Lucille Huppert, North Carolina State, Raleigh
Logan Haynes Jenkins, work force
Eric Kade Nagakane, A-B Tech Community College, Asheville
Wyatt James Norris, A-B Tech Community College, Asheville
Andrew McWilliams Tillett, UNC, Chapel Hill
Alin Yarley Villanueva, North Carolina State, Raleigh