By Richard Taylor
It was academic honors week on Ocracoke.
The Hyde County Board of Education presented awards to several Ocracoke student leaders and staff at its March meeting at the Community Center Tuesday and the Ocracoke School recognized students achieving high grades on Wednesday.
Honor roll certificates went to third through 12th grade students with 85 to 92 grade point averages. Students with a 93 to 100 average made the Principal’s List.
For the first time, Principal Leslie Cole presented “Dolphin Awards” for special achievement to pre-K-12 students for “doing great in reading or math or having a great attitude” as selected by their by their teachers.
Among the honorees, Kindergartner Austin O’Neal was recognized for “being a great classroom helper, always willing to help his classmates and his teacher.”
Cole said kindergartner Dallas Mason got his award for improved writing skills. “He always makes sure his writing is neat and has spaces between his words,” Cole read. “And he’s a great storyteller and an excellent drummer.”
Fifth-grader Eliana Contreras got a Dolphin Award for “going above and beyond in all her classwork and putting 100 percent effort into everything,” Cole said. “Her work is always exceptional. Her teacher is so proud of her growth.”
So it went until senior Caroline Novak received the last Dolphin Award in high school English for “all that she has done for creating the drama club and producing plays.”
At the earlier board of education meeting, Superintendent Steve Basnight recognized Novak for directing two school plays and starting the drama club.
“She wants to be a drama teacher,” said high school English teacher Charles Temple, who mentored Novak for her senior project. “She wanted to start a drama club and direct a play.
Directing a play is an enormous undertaking, he said.
“It hits every single standard that English has to offer: Speaking, listening, reading texts and solving problems on a number of different scales and communicating those tasks to the cast,” he said. “It takes about as much work as coaching a season’s sports.”
The first play, “The School Spirit” in February, was a great success, he said, Novak’s second play is scheduled to run in May.
Senior Jayson Resendiz and sophomore Christian Trejo received plaques for representing Ocracoke at the Rowan Skills Competition in Salisbury for the second year. The pair won last year’s woodworking competition but placed fourth with a drill-charging station in this year’s competition.
Fourth-graders Petros Burleson, Yael Mendez-Amador, Zoe Modlin, Essie O’Neal, and Eli Schweninger received recognition for their efforts to improve dental health on the island. The group participated in the Department of Public Instruction’s Student Leadership Institute at Pfeiffer University last June and made presentations before the PTA, the Ocracoke Health Center Health Fair and Hyde County Board of Education on the island. Most recently, the group presented their dental health findings before the DPI March Stakeholders’ Conference in Greensboro.
Third grade teacher Martha Taylor sponsored the group and traveled with them to both statewide events.
Basnight also said recognized Cole for her recent completion of the 20-hour North Carolina Leaders in Personalized and Digital Learning course.
Mattamuskeet Elementary Principal Allison Etheridge will be recognized at the May board meeting for completing the same course.
Basnight also recognized fifth-grade teacher Jeanie Owens for being voted 2019-2020 Ocracoke Teacher of the Year by her peers.
“This is a dream job in a dream location,” Owens beamed as Basnight handed her a plaque. She is pursuing her doctoral degree in school administration.
The board authorized overnight field trips for middle school girls to attend a STEM conference in Beaufort and for Owens’ fifth-graders to travel to Raleigh museums and a Virginia camp over spring break.
The board also approved five small building related construction projects slated for Ocracoke School this spring and summer.
Honor Roll and Principal’s List awards went to the following: