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Ocracoke has one of N.C.'s smallest graduating classes

Posted June 14, 2010

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— There's something distinctive about this year's crop of high school graduates from Ocracoke Island in the Outer Banks: It's one of the smallest classes of 2010 in North Carolina.

On Sunday, Aaron Parker Caswell, Jordan Elizabeth Jones, David Justin Lukefahr and Samantha Mary Jean Vander Myde were graduated from Ocracoke School.

"The numbers are so small, no one can fall through the cracks. No one can hide," Principal George Ortman said.

The newly minted graduates grew up in the tiny village of Ocracoke, more than 20 miles south of Cape Hatteras. The village has about 800 year-round residents, two fire trucks and one K-12 school.

"I think our teachers try to keep it as close to a normal high school experience as they can," said Myde, who was class valedictorian.

Three of the four had been together since kindergarten. Myde was the new kid; she moved to Ocracoke in sixth grade.

"We don't really have cliques. Pretty much everyone hangs together," Jones said.

(See the students through the years.)

The graduates said they're eager to take on the world. Three are headed to college, and Lukefahr plans to travel the globe.

"Not that I don't love these guys, but there's a lot more people I can meet," Lukefahr said.

Four aim to make Ocracoke School proud Four aim to make Ocracoke School proud

Jones is headed to college in Asheville, Caswell to Cullowhee, and Myde to Wilmington.

"I've spent my whole life around them. It will be weird not having them around," Jones said.

"Some people spend their whole life on their island. They go off to college and come right back," Lukefahr said.

The classmates said that although the adventure of the outside world is drawing them elsewhere, they might one day return home to their island.

"This will always be my place to come back to. I just want to adventure a little and see what I can do," Lukefahr said.

"We must set out goals high," Myde said. "I know we can do great things."

15 Comments

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  • wcumom Jun 15, 2010

    My husband graduated from Ohs and his class was THREE.

  • mskittymartinmitchell Jun 15, 2010

    These four students are not only good students they are great people. I look forward to seeing the contributions they will be making to this world. Congratulations also to the two students in Kenansville. Being from small student populations has both plusses and challenges.

    Someone earlier commented on a lack of diversity in Hyde County. That is definitely not the case. At Ocracoke we are about 1/3 hispanic although there were no hispanic students in this class, we have already graduated hispanic students and there is a diverse group in every class that follows. The mainland also has a very diverse student population and the county as a whole welcomes diversity.

  • arak76473 Jun 15, 2010

    The original Headline to this story claimed Ocracoke had the smallest class... I wish GOLO users would choose to make valid comments on the story and not choose to attack previous posters.

  • kma1005 Jun 14, 2010

    "OCRACOKE IS NOT THE SMALLEST GRADUATING CLASS. DUPLIN EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL IN KENANSVILLE HAD 2. THEY WERE THE FIRST GRADUATES FROM THIS SCHOOL." - cheath

    Reading comprehension is your friend. "Ocracoke has ONE OF NC's smallest graduating classes." The article does not say it is the smallest.

  • HowManyOunces Jun 14, 2010

    Cheath: no one said they were the smallest, the article reads "one of the smallest".

  • b4jesus2 Jun 14, 2010

    I would love to had gone to a small school

  • RD28327 Jun 14, 2010

    Ocracoke is quiet and peaceful. Very nice place to visit. Not sure if I would want to live there.

  • SaltlifeLady Jun 14, 2010

    input...READ the article.... it is a k-12 school, not just a high school. Every kid in town goes to the same school.
    Inventor61, that is pretty cool... and believeable--- its 4+ hours to Ocracoke from Raleigh and 5 to Cullowee from Raleigh. I guess that kid wont be going home too often!
    Best wishes to the grads on their new adventures!!!

  • ECU4lyf Jun 14, 2010

    i like that, nobody get's left behind, i wish them all well on their new adventures.

  • cheath Jun 14, 2010

    OCRACOKE IS NOT THE SMALLEST GRADUATING CLASS. DUPLIN EARLY COLLEGE HIGH SCHOOL IN KENANSVILLE HAD 2. THEY WERE THE FIRST GRADUATES FROM THIS SCHOOL.

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