seven 2012 Ocracoke School students who graduated Sunday night, June
10, are going into the world with buckets full of encouraging notes
from the Ocracoke community.
The idea asking the audience to write personal notes to the graduates
came from the keynote speaker Laura Burgess Miller of Charleston, W.
Va., who was the students’ middle school guidance counselor.
Miller, in her speech, quoted from “The Four Agreements,” by Don Miguel
Ruiz, in asking the students to use their words and voices as a power
Then she asked the audience to write well wishes for each of the graduates with index cards and pens provided.
“Each graduate will go away with a bucket full of well wishes,” Miller said.
After talking about each graduate individually, she gave the audience
time to write their notes. Attendees placed their notes in
colorful sand buckets after the ceremony.
“What a very cool idea,” said Rob Dennis, co-owner of Thai Moon, the
Thai restaurant on the island, as he placed his notes. “I know them all
and was able to say something to each of them.”
Others, too, raved about this idea.
“Ocracoke is the only place in the world you could do this,” said Kay Riddick, Ocracoke resident.
“I didn’t know how it would come across, but it did,” said Miller after the ceremony. “I hope they do it next year.”
In her introduction of Miller, Echo Faye Bennink said that Miller played a large part in their growing-up years.
Valedictorian Molly Claudia Frum Lovejoy, spoke about the special place
that is the Ocracoke community—encouraging its youth to experiment and
take risks while always remaining close.
“The people of Ocracoke will always have our backs,” she said.
Lovejoy received the $30,000 London scholarship, the Tideland Electric
scholarship, the Jim and Becky Cornette Scholarship and the Glen Eure
arts scholarship. She will attend Emerson College, Boston, Mass.,
in the fall.
Class salutatorian Virginia Selby Downes, began to get emotional as she
talked about the support she has received from Principal Walter
Padgett, who has resigned after two years in the position and is
returning to Virginia this summer.
“You’ve revamped our school, made us proud to be Dolphins, and participated in every conceivable event,” she said about Padgett.
Downes received the following scholarships: Ocracoke Civic and Business
Association ; in memory of Charlotte Castro; Ocracoke Assembly of God;
Ocracoke Variety Store, and the Ocracoke Invitational Surf Fishing
Tournament. Downes will attend Sewanee University of the South,
Bennink received the following scholarships: State Employees
Credit Union; WOVV radio; Farm Bureau and the Beta Club. She will
attend the University of North Carolina, Asheville.
Leslie Denice Espinoza received the Delta Kappa Gamma and Greg and Eden
Honeycutt scholarships. She will attend the University of North
Carolina at Greensboro.
Cassandra Alexey Hagins received the Wells Fargo Bank and Ocracoke
Invitational Surf Fishing Tournament scholarships. She will attend
Barton College, Wilson.
Ashley Salinas- Lopez received the Beveridge Mayo scholarship and will attend Pitt Community College.
The lone boy in the class, William Thomas O’Neal, does not have
immediate plans for college but someday wants to go into engineering or
Vera and Ralph Buxton were honored with the annual community service award.
Last week, high academic honors for the 2011-12 year were awarded to
the following students: Samantha Sutton, elementary school;
Andrew Tillett, high school, and Darvin Contreras, middle school.