O’Neal held its 45th commencement at Jack Young Baseball Field on the school’s campus, Friday, May 28 at 9 a.m. It marks the successful completion of the school year 2020-2021 with in-person learning while mitigating the COVID-19 pandemic.
O’Neal’s valedictorian is Molly Kuzma, daughter of Dr. Charles and Mrs. Christine Kuzma of Foxfire. Salutatorian is Kayla Jenkins, daughter of Mr. Michael Jenkins and Mr. Dominick and Mrs. Julie Marazzo of Whispering Pines. Jr. Marshals are Stephanie Ducker, whose parents are Daniel and Carolyn Ducker of Pinehurst; Logan Husing, whose parents are William and Shelly Husing of Pinehurst and Aidan Jones whose parents are Gary Jones and Michelle Jones of Southern Pines.
The commencement speaker was Cameron Compton Sadler, O’Neal Class of 1984. Cameron graduated with her BSBA from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Kenan Flagler Business School and earned her MBA from Emory University’s Goizueta Business School. She has recently retired after a successful career, most recently with 16 years at Mondelez where she spent six years as director of global sales capabilities. Her message to the graduates was “be sure to make life matter.” There are three phases in life – to look after yourself, to focus on your loved ones, and then to give back to your community, which can be defined in many different ways.
The class of 2021 consisting of 17 students, so far has amassed more than $1 million in merit-based scholarships. The students are matriculating to 15 institutions of higher learning in nine states. Eight of these institutions are test optional, resulting in a lower admissions rate and higher wait list. These schools are North Carolina State University, George Washington University, Johns Hopkins University, New York University, College of William and Mary, American University, Florida State University and Colorado School of Mines. Molly Kuzma has committed to run track and field as well as cross country for Johns Hopkins University.