Local News

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

Posted June 14, 2010 4:49 p.m. EDT
Updated June 14, 2010 7:10 p.m. EDT

— 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.

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."