By Peter Vankevich
After a tumultuous year, Ocracoke School will end with graduation like none other.
Rocked by Hurricane Dorian and COVID-19, Ocracoke School students will long remember this academic year.
The school year had barely started before Hurricane Dorian struck on Sept. 6 and damaged the school so badly, it couldn’t be used.
Classes were canceled for a month while administrators scrambled to find alternative class locations. Students ended up using the NCCAT, the second floor of the elementary building and Ocracoke Childcare on Old Beach Road.
In March, the COVID-19 pandemic caused schools to resort to online learning. The pandemic has impacted graduation all over the nation and also for the eight Ocracoke graduates.
Due to social distancing requirements to mitigate the spread of the virus, the graduation will take place at the National Park Service parking lot at 5 p.m. Sunday, June 14.
Principal Leslie Cole will be the commencement speaker.
Those wishing to attend can stay in their cars and listen to it via a broadcast from Ocracoke’s community radio station WOVV 90.1 FM and online at wovv.rocks.
As part of the graduation week celebrations, a golf cart parade for the graduates beginning and ending at the school circle at 2 p.m. Friday, June 12.
Here are this year’s graduates and their future plans:
Mila Ortiz, Valedictorian: UNC Chapel Hill
Jesi Franklin, Salutatorian: Ringling College of Art and Design
Emily Contreras: East Carolina University
Alan Doshier: trade school or military
Vanessa Lora: Pitt Community College
Jesus Morales: Pitt Community College to study construction management
Ethan O’Neal: Pitt Community College
David Styron: East Carolina University
The school made a video of graduation in the Community Center in case rain cancels the June 14 event.