Big Rock Sponsors Shopping Trip for Ocracoke Students

We were pleased to welcome Ocracoke School children affected by Hurricane Dorian to town for a few days of fun last weekend. In partnership with Carteret County Schools, students had an action packed weekend including an aquarium visit, putt-putt, and much more! Big Rock was proud to sponsor the shopping portion of their trip with a $18,400 charitable donation. These funds allowed students to purchase essentials lost during the storm- socks, underwear, book bags, etc.. We would like to thank our Major Sponsor, Jarrett Bay Boatworks, along with many others who continue to support Big Rock year after year.


Thanks to support from area restaurants, businesses, the Big Rock Foundation and other groups, students got an Ocracoke Island Students’ Weekend they won’t soon forget. Plus, everything was sponsored and free to students and their chaperones.

The group started off Friday afternoon enjoying various activities at ECHS, from art and music activities to basketball and games. They also attended a soccer match and played laser tag.

Saturday and Sunday, students toured county sites, from the N.C. Maritime Museum in Beaufort to the N.C. Aquarium in Pine Knoll Shores. They also visited several amusement attractions, enjoying bumper cars, miniature golf, movies and more. Area restaurants donated meals, and the Big Rock Foundation donated $18,400 to buy each student items they may have lost to the storm, including shoes and school supplies.

The students stayed at Camp Albemarle near Newport for the weekend.

Karen Jordan, a senior at Ocracoke School, a pre-kindergarten through grade 12 institution, said she was overwhelmed by the generosity of the county.

“I am very grateful,” she said. “It’s kind of incredible how everyone here banded together to donate this weekend to us kids.”

Ocracoke junior Dylan Esham agreed.

“I am really grateful that everyone has gone out of their way to help us,” he said.

Ocracoke middle school science teacher Patricia Piland, too, said she was overwhelmed by the generosity of the county.

She said the school remains closed and officials are identifying other buildings on the island that can serve as classrooms for students. School buildings were flooded when Dorian came through, leaving 10-12 inches of water and mud in much of the school.

“They’ll be separated into groups in different buildings. I’m not sure when they will go back to school. I know they were trying to get them started back next week, but I’m not sure if that will happen,” she said.

“What this county has done for these students is incredible. These students love each other and have missed being together. Just being able to play together and see each other is a big deal. Their streets are lined right now with people’s lives (discarded belongings) and just getting a few days away from that means a lot for them. They needed a weekend away. It’s also helping the parents,” she continued.

Tommy Bennett with the Big Rock Foundation said his organization, too, was glad to be able to help the students.

“The Big Rock Foundation is dedicated to helping the community become a better place. It just seemed a natural extension of our mission to meet this need,” Mr. Bennett said. “There are so many ties here to the people of Ocracoke.”