Celebrating 32 Years in Ocracoke!

Article contributed by Asha Thurman and Rebecca Cantor

Walt Wolfram and students with local Ocracoke residents at a restaurant

For 32 consecutive years, graduate students from the NC State Linguistics program visited the island of Ocracoke to teach local middle school students about language variety and linguistic diversity in North Carolina and on Ocracoke. 

As we stepped foot on the island for the first time, we felt lucky to have visited right at the beginning of the season, to see Ocracoke open up and to enjoy the last days of the slow paced off-season. 

During our time in Ocracoke, we explored the island, learned of its history and folktales, conversed with locals and lent a hand at the school. Having the opportunity to teach and connect with the 8th graders was an incredibly rewarding experience. They were a lively, smart, and humorous group that interacted and engaged positively with our lesson plans. 

In fact, people around the island stopped to greet us and recall memories of their time in middle school when previous cohorts came to teach their 8th grade classes! Their reflections really highlighted the lasting impact of our educational outreach. 

As our trip came to a close, we found it bittersweet to say farewell to the lovely island and its people. However, we all agreed we would return, hoping to be reunited with the warm hospitality and inviting community once again upon our arrival! 

Here’s to 32 years in Ocracoke and many more to go!

Students in front of an Ocracoke lighthouse
Students enjoying a view of the ocean

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