Thursday, June 21, 2012

Valedictory Address

Visitors to Ocracoke often ask about the quality of education on the island. Ocracoke School is the smallest K-12 public school in North Carolina. Nevertheless, island students frequently garner significant academic awards and recognition.

Among this year's graduating class of seven, valedictorian Molly Lovejoy will be attending Emerson College in the fall. She has given me permission to publish her valedictory address as our June Ocracoke Newsletter. You can read it here:

As you will read, Molly's speech celebrates many of the qualities that make Ocracoke special, and that keep our school and our community vibrant and creative.


  1. Debbie Leonard5:59 AM

    I believe that your school is Pre-K through 12.

  2. Debbie, you are correct. For some reason I still say K-12.

  3. I just read the address. I did so with pride. Even though I have only visited the island four times over the years, I feel like it is my home. My mother is a direct Howard descendent, though no family that has lived on Ocracoke for any time is detached from any other island family for long.

    I think that is a key factor to the success of Ocracoke. Because it is an island and isolated from the mainland, its residents knit together into a support group that celebrates individuality and mutual support.

    Each island child benefits from that sense of community and that safety net. It is liberating to be allowed to try new ideas and interests, learned from the resulting success or failure, and use that experience to grow. How I wish my children (and every child) had grown up in such a place.

    I send my best wishes to the graduating class on 2012. Theirs is a terrific, yet wonderful, responsibility. May they live in such a way that they are like the lighthouse that lead others to safe harbor.

  4. debbie s.8:53 AM

    Bob phrased it so much more eloquently than I would have.... agreed wholeheartedly!

    While we were there last week, my kids had the opportunity to befriend some of the O'Neal boys (Hunter and his younger brothers) - what a great group of kids!

  5. Anonymous10:25 AM

    You know on my keyboard the letter l sometimes sticks, I hit and then it is not there-- Is the letter C on your keyboard sticking as in your title for this piece?

  6. Reggie11:01 AM


    Thanks for publishing Molly's speech for those of us who missed it live. She really hit a home run with this one, and not a moment was "cheesy".
    I think she has highlighted what makes us all feel so comfortable and happy in Ocracoke. Not just a Live and Let Live spirit, but real interest, acceptance and encouragement in each other.

    My hope for the grads is that they find this kind of community attitude wherever they decide to settle - a place where openness trumps fear and diversity is celebrated. Good luck to all of you, and thanks to Molly for such an eloquent view of what makes Ocracoke such a special place.

  7. Of all places to make mistakes -- on a post about Ocracoke's top student of 2012! Oh my! I should have written Pre-K to 12; I wrote Emory University when I meant Emerson College; and I misspelled Valedictory. I have corrected the last two mistakes. Thanks for the feedback!

  8. Anonymous11:43 AM

    Being chosen to give the valedictory address...very prestigious.
    Being chosen by Philip Howard to be the subject of his that's an honor!

  9. Anonymous1:33 PM

    Oh well it's not the end of the whirled, you're only humane. At least you didn't mispell misspelled. Maybe next time you will use spell checker like I do.

  10. Anonymous10:43 AM

    note - it should be the UK's Special Air Service (SAS), and the phrase is "Who dares, wins" - "Qui audet adipiscitur"

  11. Molly Lovejoy12:57 PM

    Dang, I was caught by Anonymous. I actually knew that, but I borrowed the whole "those who risk" phrase from a favorite movie, Elizabethtown (I am a film major, after all) that also incorrectly quoted it. I hoped that no one would know anything about the UK's SAS and it would slide by unnoticed, but once again, the internet has outsmarted me.

  12. Anonymous12:58 AM

    Molly - any lover of Elizabethtown is a friend of mine....