Ocracoke School

 Ocracoke School Athletics: It takes a boost from the village

November 2014
By Peter Vankevich

Brian Carter PS BL8A0915

Evin Caswell makes the jump for Ocracoke during a game last year against Hatteras. Photo by Brian Carter

 

To say that Ocracoke School has been beleaguered with difficul­ties these past years due to se­vere budget problems would not be an understatement.

Yet, the school athletic programs, both middle school and varsity lev­els, have been enormously success­ful, beating teams from much larger schools.

The student athletes have trained hard and have been well-coached. There is excitement and good atten­dance in the gym when Lady Dolphin volleyball and all Dolphin basketball games are played.

In basketball last year, the girls’ varsity team advanced to the second round of the state championship and the boys’ middle school team finished with a record of 9-1.

The boys’ varsity team in spite of their record (6-18) played strong all year beating several conference rivals.

An amazing highlight of the season for the boys happened Jan. 24 when they upset First Flight High School of Kill Devil Hills (a division 2A team, Ocracoke is 1A), 52 to 41. To gain a perspective on this win, First Flight has 800 students in grades 9 to 12, compared to Ocracoke’s 44.

In cross country last year, the girls’ team finished as district and regional champs and placed tenth in the state. The boys’ team also finished as district champs as well as regional runners-up and thirteenth in the state.

The middle school baseball team ended the season with a 6 to 3 record.

These teams have been helped in no small part by the Ocracoke School Athletic Boosters Club whose rough­ly 150 members not only show up to cheer the teams on, but also provide major financial support through fund­raising activities. The club, began in 2010, raises money primarily from the sale of banners displayed in the gym and through concession sales.

The club’s contributions have been appreciated by the school administra­tion.

“In this current budget situation, the   school would not be able to provide these resources to the students,” said Walt Padgett, principal, and long a fan of school athletics. “The Boosters have significantly improved all of our sports programs.”

Kari Styron, the club’s trea­surer and whose daughter Samantha is a senior and cap­tain of the volleyball team, highlighted a long list of the club’s contributions, among them: purchasing team uni­forms and warm-up sweats for all sports; chairs for home and away teams; all of the volley­ball equipment since the sport started in 2012; storage racks for basketball and volleyball equipment.

Brian Carter basketball seats PS BL8A3032

Ocracoke School Booster Club paid for the chairs the teams use during games. Photo by Brian Carter

 

A big-ticket item was a Shoot-A-Way basketball prac­tice shooting machine designed to help the teams improve their shooting techniques, and pitch­ing machines and a batting cage for the baseball teams.

The club has also made sig­nificant infrastructure contribu­tions, covering half of the costs to sod the school playground; a washer and dryer to launder uniforms; the equipment for the concession stand and a weath­erproof rug for the entrance hallway to the new gym to help keep out sand and water.

It has also started a schol­arship program: $1,000 for a girl and boy athlete each year, awarded on need and attitude, not performance.

Helping to sell Dolphin ap­parel are Debbie Jenkins in her boutique SheaBella in Com­munity Square and the Variety Store.

The Ocracoke Pizza Compa­ny, run by Scott McNally and Daniela Gilbert, provide pizza to sell during the games.

Another major source of funding is the Ocracoke 5K/10K Run and Family Fun Run. In April it raised $10,500 for the boosters.

The school’s athletic direc­tor, Charles Temple, had noth­ing but praise for the club.

“Without the support of the boosters, we’d be where we were 10 years ago, struggling to schedule a 12-game season in basketball, and cross country as the only other sport avail­able,” he said. “Thanks to the generosity of all those who do­nate to the boosters in a variety of ways, we are able to field nine teams out of middle and high school, and we compete at a level far above what our small size might usually allow.”

To join, individual member­ship is $25 and family $35. New banners are $250 and $150 per renewal. Checks can be sent to Ocracoke School PO Box 189 Ocracoke, NC 27960.

Categories: Ocracoke School, Sports