By Stacey L. Sutton
Jason’s Restaurant opened its doors Sunday and served 110 take-out lunches to help Ocracoke High School raise money for this year’s prom and Washington, D.C., trip. A total of nine high school students, ranging from sophomores to seniors, spent several hours of their Sunday cooking, taking orders and dishing roast pork lunches into to-go containers while Leslie Cole ran a bake sale table of home-baked treats donated by parents and non-parents from the community.
The event raised almost $900.
“I’m very happy with our success,” said Leslie Cole of the fundraiser. Cole, the social studies teacher and assistant principle, is the faculty adviser for the prom as well as the Washington,D.C., field trip.
“A major, big thanks to Jason Wells for his culinary talents and for his gracious generosity in allowing us to hold this fundraiser in his restaurant even though he’s closed [for the winter],” Cole said.
Although the right-of-passage dance isn’t until April, the students began preparing in November.
“We started brain-storming about how we wanted prom to be,” said senior Samantha Styron, “and we wanted this year to be classy, almost a roaring 20s theme with our colors being gold and white.”
Seventeen-year-old senior Katie O’Neal was one of four seniors running the front counter.
“We want to raise enough money this year to have a live band,” O’Neal said. “We’ve always just had a DJ, and we just want to mix it up a little this year.”
While prom is traditionally reserved for only juniors and seniors, Ocracoke prom is a little different; the school is so small that all high school students are encouraged to attend.
“Otherwise we’d have a whole gym decorated for all of twenty people,” laughed senior Abigail Morris. “That would be really boring.”
In addition to their school work, sports, music lessons and household chores, students of Ocracoke High School have been working on raising funds almost every week for the past two months by making cakes to raffle off at home basketball games.
“We sell the tickets during the girls’ game and then pick the winner during half-time of the boys’ game,” O’Neal said. The students have also been selling raffle tickets for a donated Ocracoke-themed comforter and have conducted 50-50 raffles.
Fundraising is expected to continue even after enough funds have been raised for prom in order to raise money for the bi-annual four-day long trip to Washington, D.C. Currently, juniors and seniors are taken on a tour of the nation’s capital by Cole, three chaperones and a bus driver. According to Cole, the organizer and faculty chaperone of the trip, the goal of the trip is to immerse the students in the rich history and culture of Washington.
“We go to the Smithsonian, the Holocaust Museum, Arlington Cemetery, the monuments of Martin Luther King Jr., as well as those of all the president’s, and we might take in a hockey game while we’re there. Also, the students learn how to use the metro which is an important skill in getting around any major city,” said Cole.
For anyone wanting to contribute to the students’ efforts by participating in the half-time cake raffle, a current basketball game schedule can be found at http://www.maxpreps.com/high-schools/ocracoke-dolphins-(ocracoke,nc)/basketball/home.htm. To purchase tickets for a chance to win a warm 5-foot by 6 1/2-foot quilt, either contact a high school student or call the high school administrative office at 252-928-3251. The winner of the comforter raffle will be drawn at the high school during Senior Night Tuesday, Feb.10.
“The blanket was generously donated by Ocracoke Island Realty and it’s a great representation of the island,” said Cole. “Ticket prices are $5 each or three for $10.”
As for Sunday’s fundraiser, when asked how she felt about spending part of her Sunday working, Katie O’Neal was actually happy for the reprieve.
“All of us seniors have been working really hard on our senior projects , which are due in less than a week,” she said. “So we haven’t really gotten to see each other in a while. It was a nice break. Plus, Jason made pizza for everyone. So we got to eat pizza too.”