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O’Neal Holds Blackbird’s Eye Dedication and Presents Youngclaus Awards

O’Neal Holds Blackbird’s Eye Dedication and Presents Youngclaus Awards

Southern Pines – On Tuesday, May 16th,  O’Neal’s 2017 literary publication, The Blackbird’s Eye, was dedicated to Upper School Division Assistant Robin Prim. Written by O’Neal junior and member of the Blackbird’s Eye editorial staff, Sophia Renner, the dedication is as follows:

This year’s edition of the Blackbird’s Eye is dedicated to a woman who has been an instrumental member of the O’Neal community since 1997. She miraculously keeps track of all the happenings in the Upper School, while also finding time to connect with each and every student.  Her cheery smile and compassionate demeanor warm the heart of everyone she encounters, and The O’Neal School is extremely lucky to have her.  Today we honor her and her countless contributions to this community by dedicating the 2017 Blackbird’s Eye to Mrs. Robin Prim.

A student in each division was given the Bill Youngclaus Award for their writing excellence in poetry or prose.  All entries that are considered for the School’s annual literary publication are presented before a committee comprised of teachers from each of the Lower, Middle and Upper School divisions as well as Upper School students who make up the publication’s staff. Youngclaus winning entries are exhibited in the Blackbird’s Eye and the writers also receive a monetary award.

The Bill Youngclaus Creative Writing Award was founded to honor Mr. Youngclaus, who was an avid writer himself. Ten years ago, the first Bill Youngclaus Creative Writing Awards were given. Written by Bill’s wife, Lisa Youngclaus, the following was recited upon presenting the first awards.

“This award was created out of the generosity of many friends and family members who chose to honor their fond memories of Bill Youngclaus by making a memorial donation to The O’Neal School.

Bill Youngclaus was a brilliant, creative, talented man who attended Yale University on a full academic scholarship and graduated with an English degree. He pursued a successful career in the advertising business and lived and worked all over the world, mastering four different languages and assimilating to many cultures and ideas. But the language he loved most was the language of the written word. He read novels, plays, and poetry and he wrote fiction and poetry throughout his life.

Bill loved The O’Neal School for its high academic standards, its devoted faculty, and the loving, caring environment the School provided for his young son, Will. Bill served passionately on the O’Neal Board and dreamed of the school being able to fulfill all of Will’s dreams and the dreams of all the other students that call O’Neal their home.”

Will ’12 is currently living in Nashville, Tennessee.

The 2017 winners are Isla Riggsbee (1st grade) – “The Doe and the Tree”, Ria Elamaran (7th grade) – “Autumn Leaves”, and Cecilia Bockoven (10th grade) – “The Sea Knows”.

O’Neal is a college preparatory, independent day school. Presently, it serves students from pre-kindergarten age 3 through 12th grade. O’Neal is dedicated to the development of academic excellence, strength of character and physical well-being of its students in an environment where self-discipline, integrity and consideration for others are fundamental. The School is dually accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) and the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS). Tuition assistance and limited transportation services are available.   For more information about the O’Neal School, contact Director of Admissions Olivia Webb, at (910) 692-6920 or go to




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