The O’Neal School held its 43rd commencement on Friday, May 24th in the Grand Ball Room of the Carolina Hotel in Pinehurst. The commencement was preceded by a baccalaureate service at Brownson Presbyterian Church on Thursday, May 23rd. O’Neal had two salutatorians and two valedictorians due to mathematical ties in grade point averages. At commencement, Class Salutatorians Jenna Burns, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Brian Burns, and Shamiso Kodzai, daughter of Drs. William and Za’Vette Kodzai, delivered the invocation. The O’Neal School Choir sang the Alma Mater. Class Valedictorians Maia Kantorowski, daughter of Mr. Michael and Dr. Pamela Kantorowski, and Blair Spencer, daughter of Mr. George Spencer and Mrs. Cassie Gavin, addressed the graduates. Richard Joyner was the commencement speaker. Mr. Joyner was the valedictorian of the first O’Neal graduating class in 1977 and serves as the president of Tolleson Wealth Management in Dallas, Texas.
The class of 2019, consisting of 41 students, so far has amassed $2.76 million in merit-based scholarships. The students are matriculating to 25 colleges in 14 states, such as University of California, Berkeley; Barnard College, Duke University and UNC Chapel Hill. Three students have committed to play a sport. Fulton Smith will be playing golf for Wake Forest University. Ralayah McRae will be playing basketball for Bluefield College in Virginia and Hannah Burns will be swimming for the University of Pittsburgh.