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Oakes to deliver keynote address at Carlisle’s commencement ceremony

AXTON, VA – Carlisle School announced that Joy M. Oakes, a class of 1974 alumna, will serve as the keynote speaker at the school’s 47th commencement ceremony.

The ceremony, which was initially scheduled for May 22, was postponed due to COVID-19.

The private ceremony will take place Friday in three sessions to limit the number of guests on campus at one time.

Each session may be viewed live on the school website, and a recorded version of the full ceremony will be available on the site by the following day. 

A native of Pittsylvania County, Joy Oakes has deep roots in rural culture with an ongoing interest in sustainable agriculture.

She graduated from Carlisle School as its first valedictorian and graduated magna cum laude from Duke University with a degree in religion.

Since 2001, Oakes has been a leader with the National Parks Conservation Association based in Washington, D.C.

She and her husband, Tom Cassidy, have two sons, Michael, an aviator with the U.S. Navy, and Sean, a Minor League Baseball umpire.

A resident of Arlington for more than two decades, Oakes enjoys being with her family, exploring and learning about history, culture and the natural world, gardening for native plants and animals, and volunteering at church. 

School officials say classes will be offered five days a week this fall. 

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