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Silhouette of graduates waving their graduation caps and diplomas.
Hannah Nash

Welcome to the "Countdown to Commencement" series, a blog dedicated to celebrating the remarkable achievements of the graduating class of 2024. Join us as we cover graduation details, highlight our seniors' academic accomplishments, and share their plans for life after high school. Our seniors have shown exceptional talents in the classroom, on the field, and on the stage - excelling in so many areas. Follow along as we celebrate these incredible soon-to-be graduates on this blog and on social media

Day 1 - Valedictorians and Salutatorians (June 7, 2024)

The results are in! We are proud to announce this year's valedictorians and salutatorians. These students are not only top academic performers, but also leaders in their school community. We look forward to hearing their remarks at our upcoming graduations ceremonies. 


Grace Vernesoni, Cape Hatteras High School, senior portrait

Grace Vernesoni - Cape Hatteras Secondary

Kellen Morris, First Flight High School, senior portrait

Kellen Morris - First Flight High 

Gitzelle Enciso Ramirez, Manteo High School, senior portrait

Gitzelle Enciso-Ramirez - Manteo High 


Sherlyn Mendieta-Lozano, Cape Hatteras Secondary, senior portrait

Sherlyn Mendieta-Lozano - Cape Hatteras Secondary

William Downing, First Flight High, senior portrait

William Downing - First Flight High 

Isabella Alexander, Manteo High, senior portrait

Isabella Alexander - Manteo High 

Congratulations once again to the Class of 2024, and especially to our outstanding valedictorians and salutatorians! Your hard work, dedication, and exemplary achievements have set a high standard. Here's to a bright and successful future!

Day 2 - Global Language Endorsement Graduates (June 6, 2024)

On day 2, we are celebrating 9 seniors who earned the prestigious Global Language Endorsement (GLE). These students have met the rigorous criteria to receive this honor, demonstrating proficiency in both English and a World Language.

Criteria for the Global Language Endorsement:

  • Completion of 4 English Language Arts (ELA) courses
  • Completion of 4 levels of a World Language
  • A combined GPA of 2.5 or higher in each language

English learner and multilingual learner students, are also eligible for this endorsement when they achieve a set score on a language proficiency test in English and demonstrate proficiency in a World Language through an approved external assessment.

We are excited to see these numbers grow as more students continue to achieve English proficiency, pursue higher levels of World Language study, and excel on outside assessments. Congratulations to the following students for earning the Global Language Endorsement:

Cape Hatteras Secondary School 

  • Ronald Contreras-Garcia
  • Emely Macias Rodriguez
  • Katelyn Meyers
  • Marisol Velazquez Lozano

First Flight High School 

  • Kaiden Owens
  • Sarah Sedlacek
  • Anna Jo Tynch
  • Burke Powers

Manteo High School

  • Ella Krempl

Day 3 - Career and Technical Education (CTE) Graduates (June 5, 2024)

On day 3, we are recognizing 162 seniors who have completed a career and technical education program of study. Career and technical education courses give students an opportunity to explore possible career options and learn highly marketable skills. The following students completed these career focused courses and earned valuable credentials that will give them an advantage when they enter the workforce. The program of study areas include: Architecture & Construction, Arts, AV Technology, and Communications, Aviation, Business, Management & Administration, Hospitality & Tourism and Human Services, Health Science, Information Technology and Work-Based Learning

Congratulations to the following students for successful completing their CTE program of study. 

Cape Hatteras Secondary School

  • Derrick Allen
  • Dominic Caputo
  • Raven Castillo Harkrader
  • Landen Clark
  • Ronald Contreras-Garcia
  • Derek Cunningham
  • Robert Eakes
  • Abby Edwards
  • Derek Garcia Rodriguez
  • Jordan Harris
  • Jassmine Ibarra-Ramirez
  • Austin Jones
  • Tabitha Lewark
  • Lana Luckett
  • Miranda Miranda
  • Alice Miranda
  • Andrew Perez
  • Kinzlie Philips
  • Kylie Philips
  • Faith Porras Ruter
  • Benjamin Quidley
  • Lillian Quist
  • Colin Scalia
  • William Thatch
  • Marisol Velazquez Lozano
  • Dory Whitley
  • Anthony Zenteno Luna

First Flight High School

  • Nicoli Baker
  • Job Bennett
  • Jaden Best
  • Elijah Brickhouse
  • Nathan Canning
  • Annalisse Castillo
  • Quinn Cerino
  • Isabella Coates Lorzo
  • Trevor Coleman
  • Jack DeLucia
  • Joyner Drake
  • Lucas Driver
  • Avery Garberina
  • Avery Harrison
  • Alexander Harvey
  • Dillon Hoggard
  • Christopher Hutchins
  • Carolyn James
  • Alayna Jester
  • Garrett Jones
  • HunterKeeton
  • Gabriel Kelly
  • Samuel Kottas
  • Cooper Kresicki
  • Finlay Kunz
  • Judah LaCroix
  • Jason Lancsek
  • Sydney Leano
  • Kyle Logan
  • Cyrus Lowe
  • Nicoli Marino
  • Eric Mennicucci
  • Ellie Meyers
  • Isaac Miles
  • Caroline Miller
  • Mason Miller
  • Conner Mills
  • Eva Maria Monica Vazquez
  • Sebastian Montes
  • Anastasia Morales
  • Lauren Morgan
  • Talulah Morris
  • Vance Plevyak
  • Tabitha Podruchny
  • William Pollock
  • Ethan Rausch
  • Kai Reece
  • Amarah Richeson
  • Jaden Rock
  • Diego Rodriguez Trochez
  • Luke Rubino
  • Isaiah Saunders
  • Sarah Sedlacek
  • Jason Shperdheja
  • Hannah Smith
  • Brooke Tomlin
  • Anna Joe Tynch
  • Josephine Voight
  • Daniel Wang
  • Willow Ward
  • Avery Wilkerson
  • Brandon Woods
  • Felix Yerk
  • Maxwell Yim

Manteo High School

  • Grace Albarty
  • Serena Allsworth
  • Santiago Alvarez Isidoro
  • Adilene Alvarez Navarro
  • Colin Askew
  • Sydnee Ballance
  • Miles Bell
  • Noah Blalock
  • Miles Bradley
  • Aidan Braswell
  • Coral Burke
  • Griffin Burns
  • Owen Cahoon
  • Jose Chavez Garcia
  • Grey Clark
  • Uriel Cota-Ayala
  • Emerson Creef
  • Makia Derenberger
  • Caleb Eagle
  • Brayden Eilert
  • Logan Elkins
  • Gitzelle Enciso-Ramirez
  • Gail Escudero
  • Joshua Fisher
  • Madison Flynn
  • Teagan Geiger
  • Sophia Glod
  • Yadhira Gomez
  • Benjamin Hanusik
  • Ethan Hanusik-Lassiter
  • Ashton Harris
  • Owen Head
  • Braeden Henry
  • Hannah Hogan
  • Christian Hondros
  • Fernando Iniguez Zamora
  • Eve Jones
  • Rudy Klauser
  • Dalton Klotz
  • Layla Koonce
  • Amelia Maner
  • Trent Marshall
  • Dustin Martinez-Vargas
  • Bryan Melgar
  • Zachary Midgett
  • Montana Miller
  • William Pearce
  • Tony Perez-Morales
  • Joseph Raney
  • Zachary Reed
  • Nicholas Rhodes
  • Anakin Robb
  • Cameron Robertson
  • Lexi Ruhle
  • Morgan Sawyer
  • Jessen Saylor
  • Zhiya Selby
  • James Shackelford
  • Michael Sierra
  • Aiden Smith
  • Nathin Stanley
  • Alissa Tolson
  • Maggie Truelove
  • Eddie Turberville
  • Lily Turner
  • Lillie Twyne
  • Jazlyn Velasquez
  • Allan Vicente Diaz
  • Charles Wheeler
  • Garnet Wortman
  • John Zatarga

Day 4 - Senior Scholarships (June 4, 2024)

Dare County Schools senior scholarship nights photo collage.

Dare County Schools is proud to share that the Class of 2024 has earned nearly 4 million in scholarships. To celebrate this impressive feat, each high school hosted their own Scholarship Night events to award and recognize the deserving recipients. 

The district would like to thank the community for their generous support, providing a variety of scholarships opportunities for all students, that will greatly benefit them as they further their education. Dare County Schools would also like to thank our dedicated school counselors and teachers for guiding students through the application process and making them aware of scholarship opportunities. 

Total Scholarship Values 

Cape Hatteras Secondary School

  • Total Value of Scholarships (school-specific and local): $264,150

First Flight High School

  • Total Value of College Scholarships: $2,203,500
  • Total Value of Local Scholarships: $255,581

Manteo High School

  • Total Value of College Scholarships: $1,062,480
  • Total Value of Local Scholarships: $195,000

Congratulations to our scholarship recipients!  

Day 5 - Remembering Senior Trips & Events (June 3, 2024)

On Day 5, we're looking back on some of the memorable moments from the Class of 2024. Each of our high schools hosted special senior events and celebrations throughout the year, providing students with opportunities to bond before embarking on new adventures.

Cape Hatteras Secondary School

Given the close-knit nature of Cape Hatteras Secondary School, many of our seniors have grown up together, sharing classes and experiences over the years. This camaraderie has led to lifelong friendships, making these final days together even more meaningful. Throughout the school year, the senior class has enjoyed various activities, including breakfast and lunch gatherings, beach bonfires, and a trip to Jumpmasters Trampoline Park in Manteo. Senior pep rallies and athletic events have also been highlights, allowing the entire student body to celebrate the graduating class.

Cape Hatteras Secondary School's senior events photo collage.

First Flight High School

At First Flight High School, seniors have experienced numerous memorable events this school year. One of the standout activities was the Senior Walk, where seniors where cheered on as they walked by the First Flight campuses, visiting the elementary and middle schools. Along they way, they were celebrated by younger students and former teachers, creating a heartwarming time to reminisce on their time in grade school and connect with their community. Additionally, the Nighthawks' senior class enjoyed a final Field Day and trip to Busch Gardens at the end of May, offering a fun and relaxing break before the whirlwind of end-of-year celebrations and exams.

First Flight High School's Senior Events 2024 photo collage.

Manteo High School

Manteo High School has also made a point of celebrating the Class of 2024 with special events throughout the year. One of the most memorable was the AVID senior trip to Washington, D.C., where AVID students meticulously planned every aspect of the trip. This experience taught them valuable life skills such as budgeting, city navigation, meal preparation, and itinerary planning—skills that will serve them well in college and beyond. The seniors excelled in their planning and execution, learning a lot along the way.

Additionally, Manteo High School seniors participated in Signing Day, where they announced and celebrated their post-graduation plans. They also enjoyed a special trip to Busch Gardens, creating more lasting memories with their classmates.

Manteo High School's senior event photo collage 2024.

A Final Note to the Class of 2024

To the Class of 2024, as you enter your final week of school, take the time to appreciate each moment with your friends, family, and classmates. Cherish these days and the memories you've created together. 

Day 6 - Honoring Our Seniors Enlisting in the Military

June 2, 2024

Dare County Schools military enlistee seniors. 9 students total.

On Day 6, we proudly salute our seniors who have made the honorable decision to join the military after graduation. To the following seniors who are enlisting, thank you for your willingness to selflessly serve.

As you begin your training and prepare to don the uniform, know that you carry with you the pride and admiration of everyone in our school community. We wish you all the best in your future endeavors.

Cape Hatteras Secondary School

  • Noah Alexander Baker - US Coast Guard
  • Raven Soleo Castillo Harkrader - US Coast Guard
  • Derek Garcia Rodriguez - US Coast Guard

First Flight High School

  • Alex Flores Obando - US Marines
  • Alex Harvey - US Navy
  • Ashton Kissel - US Marines

Manteo High School

  • Wesley Chandler - US Navy
  • Madison Flynn - US Air Force
  • Charles "Wyn" Wheeler - US Merchant Marine Academy

Day 7 - College of the Albemarle Graduates / Dual Enrollment Seniors

June 1, 2024

On day 7, we proudly celebrate 13 seniors who have achieved a remarkable milestone. These seniors will receive high school diplomas and degrees from College of the Albemarle (COA) through our dual enrollment program. Through the Career and College Promise program, these dedicated students began taking courses at COA as juniors and successfully completed a two-year degree at no cost. We are incredibly proud of their hard work and success in a college environment.

A special shoutout goes to Gitzelle Enciso-Ramirez from Manteo High School, who was nominated for COA’s President’s Service Cup—the highest award a COA student can receive. Gitzelle was selected from COA’s Dare campus for her excellence in the classroom, her significant contributions of service to the college, and her active involvement in the community.

Congratulations to the following students on your tremendous success and new degrees:

Cape Hatteras Secondary Spring Graduates:

  • Isabella Heilig - Associates in Arts
  • Sherlyn Mendieta-Lozano - Associates in Arts
  • Abby O'Neal - Associates in Arts
  • Grace Vernesoni - Associates in Arts

Summer Graduates:

  • Silas Midgett - Associates in Arts
  • Ayden Throne - Associates in Arts

First Flight High School

  • Chris Hutchins - Welding Diploma
  • Kellen Morris - Associates of Arts and Science
  • Grace Rusk - Associates of Arts
  • Diego Rodriguez Trochez - HVAC Diploma

Manteo High School

  • Noah Blalock - Welding Diploma
  • Gitzelle Enciso-Ramirez - Associates in Arts
  • Anakin Robb - Welding Diploma

Day 8 - Graduation Ceremony Details

May 31, 2024

Dare County Schools high school graduation cap toss collage.

And just like that - we are 8 days away from graduation weekend! Our series of high school graduation ceremonies will kick off on Friday evening at First Flight High School and conclude Saturday evening at Cape Hatteras Secondary School.

Graduation Ceremony Details

First Flight High School Graduation

Friday, June 7 at 7 PM
Location: First Flight High School’s Football Stadium

Manteo High School Graduation

Saturday, June 8 at 9 AM
Location: The Lost Colony Soundside Theatre

Cape Hatteras Secondary School Graduation

Saturday, June 8 at 7 PM
Location: Cape Hatteras Secondary’s Gymnasium

If you’d like to join the festivities from afar, visit our YouTube Channel to livestream each ceremony. We can’t wait to witness the tassels turn and the graduation caps fly.

DAY 9 - AVID Graduates 

May 30, 2024

2024 AVID graduates from Dare County Schools photo collage.

On day 9, we are recognizing our AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) graduates. Over 30 Dare County seniors received their AVID graduation honor cords during the Annual AVID Catch and Release ceremony on May 6 at Jennette's Pier.

AVID is a program that helps close the opportunity gap by preparing all students for college and career. To earn an AVID graduation honor cord, students need to:

  • Take AVID courses for at least three years in high school
  • Keep an unweighted GPA of 2.0 or higher
  • Complete at least 100 hours of community service
  • Get accepted into a two- or four-year college or university

Through AVID, these students have developed the skills they need to be successful in any path they choose - whether that is attending college or starting a career. Congratulations to the following students: 

Manteo High AVID Graduates

  • Thalia Aguirre Gomez
  • Nelly Almeida-Silva
  • Santiago Alvarez Isidoro
  • Jesus Ayala Garcia
  • Isabella Blouir
  • Matthew Carranza
  • Uriel Cota-Ayala
  • Rodolfo Delgado-Mariano
  • Isaac Jarvis
  • Angelica Landazuri
  • Bigni Lopez Angel
  • Dustin Martinez- Vargas
  • Montana Miller
  • Kaia Rothrock
  • Jazlyn Velasquez
  • Allan Vicente Diaz

First Flight High AVID Graduates 

  • Katie Braddy
  • Elijah Brickhouse
  • Lucille Byrum
  • Isabella Coates Lorzo
  • Seth Daniels
  • Ripley Farr
  • Nasmin Flores
  • Allie Foster
  • Molly Hill
  • Savannah Lawton
  • Kenya Lopez
  • Kayla Loveless
  • Gray Miller
  • Hailey Radogna
  • Brooke Tomlin

Cape Hatteras Secondary AVID Graduate

  • Gabriella Space

DAY 10 - Student Advisors to the Dare County Board of Education

May 29, 2024

Dare County Board of Education student advisors senior portraits

On day 10, we'd like to highlight our inaugural group of student advisors to the Dare County Board of Education this school year. Last summer, one rising senior from each high school was selected, from an impressive pool of applicants, to represent their school and area as a student advisor to the board. Isabella Alexander from Manteo High, Sherlyn Mendieta-Lozano from Cape Hatteras Secondary, and Anna Tynch from First Flight High were chosen to serve, and have been invaluable additions to the board.

At the monthly board meetings, each advisor shared school highlights and their perspectives on various agenda items, policies, and proposals. This gave board members an opportunity to hear directly from the student body. Their voices, prospectives, and enthusiasm were a much welcomed addition to the board and we are extremely grateful for their service and leadership. 

It is no surprise that these three seniors are off to great things and we look forward to seeing all that they accomplish!

  • Isabella Alexander will attend Duke University in the fall and plans to major in biology.
  • Sherlyn will attend the The University of North Carolina at Charlotte and will major in international business.
  • Anna Tynch is still deciding between UNC-Chapel Hill to study global students and applied science or the University of Southern California to student international relations.

We are so proud of these students' and know that the future is extremely bright for each of them. Congratulations and best wishes!

To learn more about their roles, check out the video below.