Cape Hatteras Secondary commencement celebrates Class of 2021

Published 2:02 pm Monday, June 21, 2021

Commencement for the Class of 2021 of Cape Hatteras Secondary School of Coastal Studies was held outside on the Grady Austin field with a full audience.

The wind was brisk, setting sail to some mortarboards. Soon-to-be graduates clutched red stoles. The sky was cloudy, but no rain fell on this parade of accomplished students.

Hundreds of family members, former graduates and friends watched the proceedings June 12, 2021.

Emmiline Baker welcomed the crowd, introduced dignitaries and then said “And now onto the mushy stuff. As many of you are aware we were ‘that’ class . . . the students that made most teachers question why they ever went into teaching. Now, we did have a lot of good qualities. Quite a few teachers adored us and they helped shape us into the people we are today.”

For her quiet leadership, helping others and lifting others up, Baker was presented the Class of 2021 Citizenship Award.

“Who would have thought that we would be completing out senior year during a global pandemic,” stated Valedictorian Laura Adelle Hooper. “It may not have been the ideal senior year but it will make for a good story one day.”

This class didn’t plan a prom and couldn’t go on a class trip. All classmates experienced virtual learning at home. Classroom learning only opened and closed the senior year for the class.

“We’ve had many other bumps in the road,” said Amber Harrell in her closing remarks. “But I think I speak for all of us when I say that I am glad that we all made it here tonight.”

Salutatorian Maria Rose Bradley said, “I encourage us all to thank our parents, grandparents, friends, teachers and anybody that made a difference in our lives.”

Sponsors for the class since the eighth grade year Natasha Farrow and Karla Jarvis thanked parents. The duo served as the commencement’s guest speakers and offered a duet.

Said Farrow: “And each and every time, you, the parents were there.”

Said Jarvis: “You took over the grill at the cookouts, you drove to Busch Gardens, you donated items for fundraisers, you dropped candy off for Valentine bags and even when we asked for sponsors for senior t-shirts, and there’re a lot of them, we sent an email and had what we needed in less than three hours.”

Said Farrow: “We have fussed over and shared frustrations, especially during the challenging time this past year and a half has been. But we have always known you were there.”

Said Jarvis: “And for that, we are so appreciative and wanted to thank you, for not just having great kids but for being a great, supportive resource for us over the years. Thank you so much and congratulations on your part in this achievement!”

Hooper said “we are so blessed to have such a loving, supportive community that pushes us to follow our dreams and reminds us that we will always have a home here.”

The Class of 2021 is one of the largest to attend Hatteras Island schools. In elementary school, the class size demanded three classrooms.

For the Class of 2020, the commencement was outside, too. Graduates-to-be and families showed up at appointed times for the awarding of diplomas.

The 2021 ceremony started with the presentation of colors by a United States Coast Guard team. Principal Beth Haneman-Rooks announced the Citizenship Award and presented diplomas with help from Assistant Principal Annette O’Neal. Karla Jarvis called the student names.

Class President Conner McLeod Tawes directed tassel turning.

John Alexander Fairbanks provided some comic relief when he surprised Haneman-Rooks with a frog and then tried to put the frog in the hair of a classmate in the front row.

A graduation band with current students and past graduates played under the director of Sean McCroskey.

With an outside ceremony, masks were not required.

Chief Marshals from the junior class were Emily Bayne and Elizabeth Muller. Marshals were Jose Briones Avila, Yoselyn Trejo Gabriel, Jennifer Mohnal and Clara Oden.

Attending the ceremony were Dare County Board of Education members Mary Ellon Ballance, Susan Bothwell, Frank Hester, Joe Tauber and Carl Woody.

Dare Schools Superintendent John D. Farrelly issued the declaration. Also attending was Associate Superintendent Sandy Kinzel.

Cape Hatteras Secondary School of Coastal Studies as the Class of 2021:

Maria Aburto-Luna, Jose Jonathan Aburto-Tapia, Evan Gray Augustson, Andrew Shanklin Austin III, Calia Alejandra Babilonia, Emmiline Grace Baker, Laya Elizabeth Barley, Maria Rose Bradley, Johan Palafox Briones, Brayan Garcia Caldera, Kaleigh Ella Canning;

And Charles Gray Conner, Jordan Kai Conner, Hannah Jewel Curcio, Victor Antonio De Lao Caldera, Kristiana Helena Distel, Elijah Ethan Eisensmith, John Alexander Fairbanks, Kaylie Renee Farrow, Noah Ryan Gentry, McKayla Gloria Gordon, Alexis Grace Haertel;

And, Noah James Hagy, Amber Lee Harrell, Daniel Lee Heister, Joseph Al Hodges III, Austin Langford Hooper, Aylah Hayden Hooper, Laura Adelle Hooper, Curren Russell Jackson, Leon Edgar Jennette III, Theodore Alexander Knight, Macullah Jamison Lester, Alyssa Lynn Lewark;

And Owen Jay Little, Chase Andrew Longfellow, Michael Corbin Lord, Marlee Taylor Luckett, Chaz Cameron Everett Mackenzie Cailin Mae Merillat, Taj Andrew Midgett, Jorah Avri Midgette, Jackson Naylor Pullen, Eliza Grace Quidley, Hailey Renae Quidley;

And Alondra Noemi Quiroz, Bryan Azael Sanchez Aburto, Rubie Louise Shoemaker, Kaleb Escott Spake, Conner McLeod Tawes, James Cornelius Tawes V, Nickita Sergei Timachev, Nathan Kelsey Whitehead, Mya Paige Williams and Sara Alexus Williams.

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