Ocracoke School 2017 homecoming
The Ocracoke School homecoming court are crowned Friday night in the school gym. From left, Prince Mac Kalna, Princess Iris Trejo, King Liam Caswell, Queen Lupita Martinez. Photo: Richard Taylor

By Richard Taylor

Parents, students and islanders filled Ocracoke School’s gym Friday evening (Oct. 20) as the school concluded Dolphin Spirit Week activities.

Middle school boys’ and girls’ basketball squads had scrimmages followed by a presentation of a 25-member Homecoming Court, the crowning of the Homecoming King and Queen, and, finally, a thrilling, hard-fought father-son basketball game.

Eleven decked-out boys escorted 16 formally attired girls through blue streamers dangling beneath a center-court archway as Jennifer Garrish, high school science teacher, announced the court. 

As each set of students passed through the dazzling streamers, Garrish read each student’s personally-written (often humorous) bio, complete with parent’s names, favorite hobbies and island pastimes, as well as college or vocational aspirations after high school.

Wade Austin shoots during the Father-Son game. Photo: Richard Taylor.

Boys presented girls with red roses.  A spotlight atop a corner scaffold followed each group down a sparkling white-lighted carpet runway as each proceeded across the gym.

Teachers and students in grades 3 to 12 students voted for the royalty Friday morning.

Once everyone was lined up, Garrish announced to a cheering crowd that Mac Kalna (son of Garick and Jacqui Kalna) was voted as Prince, then recognized Iris Trejo (daughter of Juan and Rocio Trejo) as Princess.

Finally, Liam Caswell (son of Bill and Lisa Caswell) was declared King, and Lupita Martinez (daughter of Jose and Eugenia Martinez) was named Queen. All four students are seniors.

2016 Homecoming Queen Josie Winstead and 2017 Homecoming King Carson O’Neal had returned and did the honors of placing crowns and sashes on the four winners.  Winstead and O’Neal both attend UNC-Chapel Hill. Winstead and O’Neal both attend UNC-Chapel Hill.

A rousing father-son basketball game ended the fun-filled evening.

After trailing their Dolphin sons most of the close game, the fathers rallied near the end to knot the score.

Just before the final buzzer, Bill Caswell (Liam’s father) was brought out from the father’s bench for a special free-through attempt, with instructions, “Shoot ‘til you miss.”

He swished his first attempt. 

Though the point did not count toward the game, the crowd roared anyway.

A desperate, last-second, full-court layup drive by the sons ended with a barely-missed shot at the buzzer, preserving a fitting 44-44 tie.

Coach Adam Burleson and his physical education class provided the blue and white decorations. Jason’s Restaurant owner Jason Wells and National Park Service Ranger Shane Bryan served as referees.

Kalai Samick takes a free-throw shot in Father-Son basketball action Friday during homecoming. Photo: Richard Taylor
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