Congratulations Class of 2018

Published 1:47 pm Monday, June 18, 2018

Schools in Dare, Currituck, Tyrrell and Hyde counties celebrated recently high school commencements with the time-honored tradition of tassels turned and caps tossed to the sky.

First Flight salutatorian urges grads to ‘take chances’

A squadron of pelicans flew over First Flight High School the evening of June 8 as down below, 240 soon-to-be graduates walked out onto the football field.

The stands were packed with family and friends. It was so crowded, many more lined the chain link fence beyond where the senior class took their seats.

First Flight High School

Get the latest headlines sent to you

Graduates ran the commencement exercises, with Mollee Sinks, president of the Student Government Association, introducing guests on the platform. SGA secretary Alexandra Rodman introduced the honor graduates, followed by senior class president Savannah Wallace presenting AVID honor graduates and NC scholars, class vice-president Ida Greenlee naming STEM and global scholars and SGA vice president Emma Strickland introducing the Quill and Scroll and International Thespian Society.

The First Flight High School Chorus followed with the school’s “Alma Mater,” song then “Drops of Jupiter” by Train. Those lyrics brought tears to the eyes of more than a few parents: “But tell me did the wind sweep you off your feet? Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day, and head back toward the Milky Way?”

In his salutatory address, Crewe Douglas gave an emotional summary of the year, mentioning one classmate whose “sheer willpower allowed him to beat cancer.”

First Flight High School

“Take chances,” Douglas said. “Change your mind, then change it again.”

The senior class then introduced First Flight’s Teacher of the Year, Erin Basilone, who talked about the power of kindness.

“Being kind doesn’t just make you a good Nighthawk, it makes you a good human being,” she said. “Wherever you go and whatever you do, know that everyone here is so proud of you.”

Class valedictorian Emma Bancroft followed up by urging graduates to seek out those who are different and discover the diversity in the world.

Noting that many graduates have only ever lived on the Outer Banks, “we haven’t experienced true diversity.”

“Travel is fatal to bigotness and narrowmindedness,” she said.

Each graduate then walked across the stage to receive their diplomas, family and friends in the audience cheering. Overhead, the pelicans were gone but a plane made circles trailing a banner reading “Congratulations Class of 2018.”

Afterward, principal Timothy Albert made the declaration of commencement, asking the graduates to turn their tassels.

They did, then tossed their blue caps high in the air.

— Kari Pugh

Ocracoke graduates six seniors

Six seniors graduated from Ocracoke School Sunday, June 10, at 5 p.m. in the school’s gymnasium.

At the commencement ceremony, Walter Padgett, former principal, was the speaker.

Graduating in the Ocracoke School’s Class of 2018 are Iris Trejo, Lupita Martinez, Mac Kalna, Grant Jackson, Darvin Contreras and Liam Caswell.

Ocracoke School graduation

The graduates received scholarships totaling $174,000 to pursue post-secondary education as indicated.

Iris Trejo will attend Miller-Motte Technical College. She received an athletic scholarship in memory of Anna and Edward Fryer for $1,500.

Lupita Martinez is slated to attend Elizabeth City State University. She received the following scholarships and awards: Athletic Booster Club, $1,000; North Carolina Beach Buggy Association, $2,000; and JoAnn and Walter Shaub, $8,000.

Mac Kalna will journey to University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving the following scholarships and awards: Athletic Booster Club, $1,000; Ocracoke Civic & Business Association, $500; Hyde County Children’s Center, $1,000; Tideland Electric Membership Cooperative, $1,000; Surf Fishing Tournament, $1,000; Eden and Greg Honeycutt, $3,000.

Grant Jackson graduated early and is working full time as a mechanic in Ocracoke.

Darvin Contreras will attend University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, receiving the following scholarships and awards: Golden Leaf Scholarship, $12,000; George and Frances London, $30,000; Tideland Electric Membership Cooperative, $1,000; Ocracoke Island Realty and Village Realty Scholarship, $4,000.

Liam Caswell will journey to Bridgewater College, Bridgewater, Virginia and received the following scholarships and awards:  Ocracoke Alumni Association, $500; PTA, $500; Assembly of God, $500; Wells Fargo, $1,500; In Memory of Charlotte Castro, $1,500; Athletic Scholarship In Memory of Anna and Edward Fryer, $1,500; Surf Fishing Tournament, $1,000 and the McKinney ACE Scholarship from Bridgewater College that is $25,000 each year totaling $100,000.

— Mary Helen Goodloe-Murphy

Manteo seniors graduate in sea of sunshine

Graduation Day in Manteo dawned with bright Carolina blue skies. The day promised to be warm, some would say hot, but not oppressive like many June days. The outdoor Waterside Theatre would be bathed in sunlight for this year’s commencement exercise.

One hundred and forty students clad in black cap and gowns entered the theatre and were led by Dare County schools Superintendent John Farrelly and Manteo High School principal John Luciano. As the processional made its way down the stairs to seats in the front of the house, parents, family and friends craned to get a look at their soon-to-be graduate.

Manteo graduation

School officials, the salutatorian, valedictorian, class president and guests were seated on the theatre stage. A stage decorated in greenery with the Manteo black and gold banners on prominent display. The Manteo graduation ceremony was ready to begin.

SGA vice president Joshua Houston led the Pledge of Allegiance and SGA president Savannah Midgett introduced the platform guests and dignitaries. Honor graduates, NC scholars, STEM and AVID students were asked to stand and be recognized by assistant principal Drew Hudspeth.

This year’s salutatory address was delivered by Elizabeth Wheless. She told classmates they had grown from goofy kids into adults. She urged them to keep moving forward, to go live their dream and reminded them that adventure is out there.

MHS Teacher of the Year Lea Dixon gave the commencement address. She wove a story of choices drawing comparisons from Greek literature and a Hollywood movie. She told them they were at a crossroads.

“Make the choice to be the best person” she said. She told them thinking was the most important lesson they have learned and to let love and logic guide them.

“The choice at the crossroad belongs to you alone,” Dixon said.

Valedictorian Everett Meekins reflected on the school journey that started all those years ago and would culminate with their graduation day. A school and teachers that had nurtured them, parents that had stood by them and a community that had accepted them. He told his class they should stay open to new experiences and never be afraid to live their lives as they see fit.

A few more words from John Luciano, who told the class that resilience might be the most important lesson of all and the Manteo High School Class of 2018 was ready to graduate. The students would stand in one more line, one more time as they waited to be called on stage. As the queue formed some looked pensive, others reflective but most smiled broadly.

The graduates entered stage left one at a time to applause and cheers. They were greeted at center stage with a hand shake, congratulatory word and the all-important diploma. Exiting stage left they were handed flowers; the school flower is the gerber daisy.

After they returned to their seats, they stood as the MHS band played and chorus sang the school’s alma mater. At the song’s conclusion tassels were turned and caps flew into the air as the school superintendent proclaimed the Class of 2018, Manteo High School graduates.

— Gregory Clark

Currituck High graduation marked by hope, encouragement

Under a setting sun and near perfect weather conditions a near overflow crowd of family and friends at the Currituck County High School football stadium watched as 209 seniors were awarded diplomas the evening of  June 8.

A theme of message, hope and encouragement filled the air from a series of speakers throughout the evening ceremony.

Currituck High School graduation.

Offering an opening welcome, school principal Juvanda Crutch, just six months on the job, asked students to identify their deepest fear and then encouraged them to overcome that fear to let their light shine. In her comments, salutatorian Jenna Marie Akers offered a message of encouragement extracted from the Bee Movie. Akers encouraged graduates to continue working hard, beautify the planet as bees do, work hard to achieve their goals, but take time to push the pause button before hitting the fast forward.

Valedictorian Marie Noelle Walls assured fellow graduates that in addition to the recent EOG tests that they would be tested throughout the rest of their life.

“Each of us will have to make millions of decisions that make up that life,” said Walls. “We have been preparing for our test since kindergarten. We are all are breaming with potential so don’t waste an era of possibility with a wrong attitude.”

During his keynote address, retired Currituck County teacher and coach Donnie Simpson challenged graduates to never quit.

“You just spent four years getting an education,” said Simpson. “Although some of you took longer the truth of the matter is that you are all about to get an education. As you face in the real world you will encounter a bunch of adversity and problems, the important thing is don’t quit. A lot of times the only way to get over hard problems is through hard work. Nobody ever drowned in sweat.”

Simpson went on to encourage graduates to learn from their mistakes while relating a personal wardrobe malfunction and how through perseverance he overcame a difficult situation.

“Learn from those mistakes,” he continued. “You are going to make tons of them. Learn and keep moving on because you cannot change the direction of the wind, but you can adjust your sails to meet your destination.”

Other highlights of the evening included an introduction of the class song, “Back Home,” by Hannah Elizabeth Holden which was performed by John Cardona,  the Currituck County High School chorus performance of “This is Me” with a solo by Rebekah Marler, announcement of the class of 2018 gift by Ryan Lee Camden, a special thanks by Allyson Elizabeth Sarnowski and a charge to seniors from Anna Caroline Poston.

The evening ended with the presentation of diplomas followed by a traditional hat toss.

— Philip Ruckle Jr.

Five graduate from Wanchese Christian Academy

Five students graduated from Wanchese Christian Academy this month, and all have big plans for the future.

Valedictorian Emma Saunders Dough of Wanchese plans to attend College of the Albemarle in the fall for two years and transfer for a degree in teaching.

Wanchese Christian Academy recently held commencement for its senior class of five. From left, including Junior Marshals, are Sara Hinson (Junior Marshal), Emma Saunders Dough, Kylee Mann, Coleman Taylor, Bonnie Thompson, Josie Wilson, Felicity Hayes (Junior Marshal)

Salutatorian Kylee Mann, of Wanchese, is currently enrolled to attend Liberty University in the fall to earn a degree in criminal psychology. After college, she plans to work in law enforcement as a profiler. She was awarded the following scholarships: $1,250 from the Outer Banks Boat Builders Foundation, $1,000 from Mt. Olivet United Methodist Church and $500 from the Melva R. & Carrie D. Daniels Scholarship.

Coleman Taylor of Manteo plans to attend Pitt Community College in the fall and pursue a career in baseball, and an associate’s degree in science radiography. He was awarded the following scholarships: $1,000 from Outer Banks Association of Realtors and $500 from the Betty Ruth Flowers-Gibbs Memorial Scholarship.

Bonnie Thompson of Wanchese plans to attend College of the Albemarle in the fall for her associate’s degree in early childhood education.

Josephine Wilson of Manteo plans to attend College of the Albemarle for two years and transfer to a four-year college for a master’s degree in English.

Forty graduate from Columbia High School

Columbia High School graduated 40 seniors in front of a full house on June 8, with Sen. Erica Smith (D-Northampton) as guest speaker. From left (first row) are: Layah Fauth, Jonathan Davenport, Amber Davenport, Rosa Cruz Torres, Adrian Cruz Lopez, Athena Cooper, Kristen Cahoon, Katie Cahoon, Nathaniel Brown, Camryn Arnold, Jassiri Arellano Diaz; (second row) Dawson Jones, Alicia Johnson-Chiprout, Alexis Johnson, Tara Howlett, Cameron Horton, Endaijah Harris, Reyna Gonzalez, Alexis Garrett, Thomas Furlough, Jameze Freeman; (third row) Cameron Reynolds, Elizabeth Price, Kelli Phelps, Jacob Phelps, Nicholas Norman, Caitlin Norman, Az’yiah Norman, Bobby McCleese, Stefon Livermon, Shamira Jones; (fourth row) Diamond Yancey, Simon Tran, Jaedyn Thorpe, Clarissa Swain, Kaitlyn Suter, Elizabeth Suter, Amelia Straker, Josie Spencer, and Dymere Spencer. Contributed photo