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Congratulations Class of 2023!

The 66 members of the Class of 2023, the 54th graduating class, joined the 2,973 people who count themselves among the ranks of Wilson Hall’s alumni. Merit-based scholarships, valued at over $7.2 million, were awarded to 100% of the graduates. Every member of the class gained acceptance to a four-year college or university, and members of the class were offered admission to 87 schools in 24 states and four countries. The average SAT score for the top 25% of the class is 1399, with a high score of 1520, and the average score for the entire class, with all seniors taking the SAT, is 1199. Eligible to receive college credit, 96% of the graduates took at least one Advanced Placement course with the average student taking at least four; there are 12 AP Scholars among the graduates. Members of the Class of ‘23 participated on 10 state champion athletic teams and won nine individual state championships, 10 students signed to compete collegiately, and the state’s top female scholar-athlete is among their ranks. Graduates won 12 individual state competitions in art, dance, debate, history or music. Members of the Class of ’23 volunteered over 4,600 hours of community service during the school year, and a student won the state’s top award for service-learning.

Moulton Presented Honorary Diploma

In recognition of his 38 years of service to the school, Mr. Fred Moulton, Head of School, was presented with the first ever honorary Wilson Hall diploma. Mr. William Croft ‘90, Chairman of the Board, surprised Mr. Moulton with the presentation during the graduation ceremony.

Huffman Wins Wilson Award

Annabelle Huffman ‘23 was presented the 52nd John S. Wilson Award at the graduation ceremony held at Patriot Hall. This prestigious award, which is the highest honor a Wilson Hall student may receive, is presented to the graduating senior who possesses the ideal qualities of a Wilson Hall student. The recipient is selected based on his or her academic achievement, leadership abilities, character, and contributions to the school, community, and church. The selection of the recipient is made by the unanimous vote of the committee consisting of three faculty members, the head of school, a member of the executive board of the PTO, a member of the board of trustees, and a member of the Wilson family. Given in memory of her father, who was one of the founders of the school, Mrs. Helen Wilson Taylor '76 presented the award during the graduation ceremony.

Four Tapped for Veritas in Unitate Society

Peyton Linginfelter, Brianna Johnson, Caroline Warr & Sean Galloway

Sean Galloway, Brianna Johnson, Peyton Linginfelter and Caroline Warr, Class of ‘23, were inducted into the Veritas in Unitate Society during the Senior Awards Program. The society is a student award program developed to recognize academic service-based achievement of senior students throughout the S.C. Independent School Assoc. Each member school can nominate up to five students, who have a minimum of 50 hours of documented community service between June of the student’s junior year and October of the student’s senior year, for the society. Nominees, who must have a minimum grade point average of 3.0, are required to write an essay outlining the importance of community service, provide three letters of recommendation from school or community leaders who have witnessed their service activities, and receive a recommendation from their head of school.

Kinney & McCord Receive Brabham Award

Clark Kinney ‘24 received the John M. Brabham III Award at the Upper School Academic Awards Program. The criteria for this award are as follows: A sincere love and compassion for his classmates; confidence in his intellectual proficiency and to be intellectually engaged with members of the faculty; enthusiasm among class members in order to bring positive support to the whole; an eager willingness to work in an around the school in order to improve or promote the WH experience; an appropriate sense of balance between having fun and being competitive; and living as an example of being a big brother at WH. The Brabham family established the award in memory of John who would have graduated with the Class of 2011. As the award recipient Clark had the honor of choosing a faculty member to receive the award, and he chose Mr. Chuck McCord, a science teacher.

Huffman Receives Moersen Award

Annabelle Huffman ‘23 received the Lisa Moersen Service to School Award which was created to recognize a senior who has actively served Wilson Hall for the duration of his or her school career. She was presented the award by Mrs. Moersen’s son, Mr. Neal Moersen ‘06.

Mrs. Moersen was a long-time parent, friend, and servant to our school. When she and her family arrived at Wilson Hall in 1994, Mrs. Moersen quickly began volunteering. She worked in the cafeteria, the concession stand at athletic events, and actively participated on the PTO Board. She was elected to the Athletic Association Board in 1995 and was a member for 25 consecutive years, serving as president for the last six years. Most notably, half of Mrs. Moersen’s tenure took place without a family member participating on an athletic team.

The Lisa Moersen Service to School Award is presented to a student who has shown a similar love for and commitment to Wilson Hall, a commitment born from care and consideration rather than obligation. 

Linginfelter Presented Watt Award

Peyton Linginfelter ‘23 received the Larry K. Watt Award presented by the S.C. Independent School Association to recognize the academic service-based achievements of seniors. It is one of the highest awards presented by the association, which has over 120 member schools, and Peyton is the only student who attends a 4A school in SCISA to receive the award. To be eligible for the award, the student must be nominated by the school and recommended by the head of school. The nominee must have a minimum of 50 hours of documented community service after June of the student’s junior year and a minimum 3.0 GPA. Once nominated, the student must submit a 500-word essay outlining the importance of community service as well as three letters of recommendation from school or community leaders who have personally witnessed their service initiatives.

Congratulations Class of 2023

Fred Moulton Day

Mr. Fred Moulton & Mayor David Merchant

To thank the school for the opportunity to serve for the past 38 years, a party for Mr. Fred Moulton, Head of School, was held on May 20. While the purpose of the party was to give Mr. Moulton the opportunity to thank everyone for their support, it was also a way for the school and its supporters to offer thanks to him for a job well done. Parents and faculty, both past and present, alumni, and friends of the school gathered in front of the Nash Student Center to socialize and enjoy beverages and food provided by Southern Pride Catering, What the Food Truck, and SweetFrog Yogurt. Everyone proceeded to the Founder’s Chapel where Mr. William Croft ‘90, Chairman of the Board, introduced Mr. Moulton who delivered the invocation before offering a heartfelt speech giving thanks, receiving a rousing standing ovation from the standing-room-only crowd of over 300 guests. As a surprise, Mayor David Merchant presented Mr. Moulton with a proclamation declaring May 20, 2023, as Fred Moulton Day in Sumter. The event was coordinated by Mrs. Laura Barr and Mrs. Martha Jo Smith Johnson ‘99 of the Development Office. 

Wilson Hall Voted Best Private School

Wilson Hall was voted Best Private School for the 16th time by the readers of The Sumter Item.

Valedictorian & Salutatorian

Sarah Sonntag & Caitlyn Schumacher

Sarah Sonntag ‘23 was presented the Valedictorian Medal for having the highest grade point average in the class, and Caitlyn Schumacher ‘23 was presented the Salutatorian Medal for having the second-highest grade point average. To receive this honor, a student must have attended Wilson Hall for the entire sophomore, junior and senior years. The students were presented their medals at the Senior Awards Program. 

Brown Presented Reynolds Award

Parks Brown ‘31 was presented the Lynn H. Reynolds Award during the Lower School Awards Program. The award is presented to the fourth grade student who meets life’s challenges with a positive attitude, possesses a never-ending zest for life, has an appreciation for music, and a love for nature. Dr. and Mrs. Phil Brandt established the award in memory of Lynn, who would have graduated with the Class of ’92.

Hall/Hanson Named Star Student/Teacher

Each year the student who achieves the highest score on the SAT, has a minimum GPA of 4.0, and has attended Wilson Hall since the 11th grade receives the honor of being named the Star Student, and this year the honor went to Jada Hall ‘23. In turn, the student has the great privilege of choosing the Star Teacher, who is one of the faculty members who has greatly influenced his or her education at Wilson Hall. Jada chose Mrs. Kristall Hanson, who taught her Advanced Placement Computer Science Principles. The Star Student and Star Teacher each presented speeches at the Senior Awards Program.

Baker Presented Young Award

Ashley-Reid Baker ‘23 received the William F. Young Academic Achievement Award at the Senior Awards Program. The award recognizes students who have exhibited the greatest improvement in his or her grade point average during the school year. In addition to recognizing achievement, this award was created to motivate students in their pursuit of learning. It is given by Dr. and Mrs. William F. Young in honor of their children, Lynn Young Anthony ’81, Rick Young ’83 and Sarah Young Gessner ’87, who graduated from Wilson Hall, and in honor of the faculty and administration who guide, nurture, educate and motivate students. 
The underclassmen who received the award at the Upper School Academic Awards Program  were Elizabeth Busch ‘24, Michael Lauzon ‘25, Sophie Miller ‘26, Jacob Cartrett ‘27, Divya Patel ‘28 and Siena LeDeatte ‘29. 

Simmons Wins Chappell Award

Sara Helen Simmons ‘25 was presented the John W. Chappell Award recognizing excellence in U.S. History at the Upper School Academic Awards Program. The Chappell Award recognizes the student who has a genuine love for U.S. History, maintains at least an A average in the course, and demonstrates high moral character and citizenship qualities. The award was established in memory of Mr. Chappell, who served on the board of trustees and had three daughters graduate from Wilson Hall: Laura Chappell Bauknight ’83, Cile Chappell Wildrick ’85 and Molly Chappell McPhail ’87.

Warr Presented Smith Award

Caroline Warr ‘23 is the recipient of the Charles T. Smith Award which is presented annually to a student who has given outstanding service to the school, community and/or church. The award is established to honor Mr. Smith who served for 30 years as the school’s athletic director.

Williams Receives Unsworth Award

Mary Parish Williams ‘24 received the Barbara Moses Unsworth Award at the Upper School Awards Program. Established in Barbara’s memory by her classmates (Class of 1973), the award is presented to the most well rounded member of the Junior Class who possesses the ideal qualities of leadership and scholastic excellence. A committee consisting of an administrator and two members of the faculty who teach juniors select the recipient from a list of faculty-nominated juniors.

Ayres Presented DuBose Award

Abel Ayres ‘27 was presented the James M. DuBose Award at the Upper School Academic Awards Program. This award is given to the eighth grade student who displays a strong love for Christ, constantly strives to do his or her best in academics and athletics, has a positive attitude, encourages others, and always demonstrates compassion for all. The award, established by the Class of 1998, is given to honor the memory of Jamie. A committee consisting of school administrators and faculty members selected Abel from a list of faculty-nominated eighth graders.

Mr. Moulton Receives State's Highest Civilian Honor

Mr. Fred Moulton & Rep. Murrell Smith

Mr. Fred Moulton, Head of School, received the Order of the Palmetto, the highest civilian honor in the State of South Carolina. First awarded in 1971, it recognizes a person's lifetime achievements and contributions to the State of South Carolina. Mr. Moulton, who has worked in education in South Carolina for 44 years, is retiring in June after serving Wilson Hall for 38 years. In his 35th year leading our school, he is one of the longest-serving heads of school in the history of the South Carolina Independent School Association. 

Rep. Murrell Smith ‘86, Speaker of the House, visited campus to present the award to Mr. Moulton during a surprise program attended by students and faculty. As Mr. Moulton entered campus on the morning of April 3, he was greeted by nearly 900 cheering students and faculty holding congratulatory signs, placards and posters. Once he entered the Nash Student Center, lower school students returned to their classes while upper school students entered the gym for the special presentation by Rep. Smith.

The award comes in the form of a certificate that, in part, reads:
“In grateful recognition of your contributions and friendship to the State of South Carolina and her people. I do hereby confer unto you the Order of the Palmetto with all the rights and privileges appertaining thereto.”

Junior Honor Marshals

J. Bostic, A. Fidler, J. Frerichs, J. Jones, C. Kinney, D. Lee, R. Owens & M. Williams

The following members of the Class of ‘24, who have attended Wilson Hall since the tenth grade and have the highest grade point averages in the class, were named as Junior Honor Marshals: Jacob Bostic, Alli Reagan Fidler, Jennings Frerichs, Jeremiah Jones, Clark Kinney, Davis Lee, Rhayne Owens and Mary Parish Williams. They were announced by Mr. Fred Moulton, Head of School, and were presented blue sashes by Mrs. Susan Barfield, Academic Dean, during a ceremony held for students, faculty and parents. The marshals will participate in the Senior Awards Program and the Graduation Ceremony. 

Huffman Wins Good Citizen Award

Senior Annabelle Huffman is the Chapter Award Winner for the Daughters of the American Revolution Good Citizen Program in Sumter. She will represent Sumter in the state-level competition. The DAR Good Citizens Award and Scholarship Contest, created in 1934, recognizes and rewards individuals who possess the qualities of dependability, service, leadership, and patriotism in their homes, schools, and communities. Each school in Sumter County was invited to nominate one senior for the competition. The nominees submitted a resume and academic transcript, wrote an essay on patriotism, and participated in an interview with members of the DAR. 

Seniors Form Prayer Circle of Classmate

John Morgan Bates '23, who is battling cancer and not able to attend school regularly, received support from all of his classmates and some members of the faculty as they visited his home. Forming a prayer circle, each student and faculty member had the opportunity to pray for John Morgan and his family. He was given a basket full of personal notes from faculty members and students, offering him encouragement and support. As students boarded the buses to travel to the Bates home a rainbow was above the campus, reminding us of God’s promise that He remains faithful even during the stormy times of our life.

College Board Female Diversity Award

Wilson Hall has earned the College Board's Advanced Placement Computer Science Female Diversity Award for expanding young women’s access to AP Computer Science Principles. This award acknowledges schools for their work toward equal gender representation during the 2021-22 school year. The honor recognizes the outstanding work the school is doing to engage more female students in computer science; Wilson Hall is one of 17 schools in South Carolina and the only school in Sumter County to receive this recognition. Schools receiving the AP Computer Science Female Diversity Award have achieved either 50% or higher female exam taker representation in one of or both AP computer science courses, or a percentage of female computer science exam takers that meets or exceeds that of the school’s female population. In addition to the AP Computer Science Principles class, Wilson Hall offers AP JAVA Programming and 13 other technology classes to high school students. 

Angel Tree Project

First grade students pose by the new bicycle they purchased for the Salvation Army Angel Tree Project which provides Christmas gifts for children in the area. Each of the 18 classes in kindergarten-5th grades are participating in the community service project.

Tebow Speaks at Mission Series

Tim Tebow visited the campus for the Mission Series on November 4 in the Nash Student Center, speaking to a crowd of approximately 1,200 people. All students in grades 6-12 attended the early afternoon program, and the public was invited free of charge. 

Tebow’s message stressed the importance of living a significant life and, more specifically, doing it in God's will. Although the theme of his message was aimed toward the students, it was relevant to the entire audience. Tebow shared personal experiences with his foundation’s Night to Shine which provides a prom night experience, centered on God’s love, for people with special needs ages 14 and older. He also spoke of a particular teen he met through his foundation’s W15H Program, which fulfills the dreams of children with life-threatening illnesses. 

Although his 45-minute presentation was not centered on his many accomplishments, Tebow did use instances in his football career, such as his choice to wear the Bible verse John 3:16 as his eye black while playing football to illustrate the importance of his Christian faith in his life. The overarching theme was not about living just a successful life, but a significant life. The program opened and closed with prayer.

Prior to the program, Tebow met with members of the Senior Class in the Founders Chapel where he gave each of them an autographed copy of his most recent book, Mission Impossible: Go Create a Life that Counts. He used perspective as the topic of his discussion with the seniors before leading them in prayer.

Tebow is a two-time college football national champion, Heisman Trophy winner, first-round NFL draft pick, and a former professional baseball player. The four-time New York Times best-selling author, speaker, and football analyst is most passionate about his work with the Tim Tebow Foundation (TTF), whose mission is to bring faith, hope and love to those needing a brighter day in their darkest hour of need. The TTF is currently fighting for people who can’t fight for themselves in over 70 countries. The TTF focuses on special needs ministries, orphan care, children with profound medical needs, and anti-human trafficking through a variety of programs.

For over a decade, the Mission Series has brought speakers of faith who have delivered messages of hope and challenge to Wilson Hall students and who have drawn hundreds of visitors from around the state to our campus. Tebow joins Dr. Ben Carson, Max Lucado, and the late Ravi Zacharias on the roster of speakers who have made an impact on the lives of Wilson Hall students and the greater community.  

In the fall of 2009, a family approached Wilson Hall with the idea of doing something for the community with a particular focus on young people. The family was interested in something that would impact the lives of our young people for the better and for their future. From that meeting was born the idea of bringing in a well-known, inspirational speaker who might offer to the local population a message of encouragement, a challenge to leadership, an invitation for the greater good. As a reflection of the desires of this community-minded family, the event was named the Wilson Hall Mission Series.

The Mission Series is coordinated by Mr. Fred Moulton, Head of School, Mrs. Laura Barr, Director of Development, and Mrs. Martha Jo Smith Johnson ‘99, Development Associate.

McInerney Receives West Point Appointment

Bailey McInerney received an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The appointment covers the cost of tuition, fees, room and board, and medical and dental care, and it includes an annual salary for living expenses, uniforms, books, and a computer. West Point is one of the most selective colleges in the nation with an acceptance rate of 9%. To receive an appointment students must earn high grades in the most challenging of courses available, such as Advanced Placement courses, excel in athletics and extracurricular activities, and have demonstrated leadership on campus and in the community. Admission is also based on SAT/ACT scores, high school class rank, faculty appraisal, and a fitness test score.

School Named to Top 10 List

The website Niche lists Wilson Hall among the top 10 Best Private Schools in South Carolina for its 2023 rankings. The school earned a grade of A+ for academics, an achievement earned by less than 10% of the schools in the nation. Wilson Hall was named #7 Best College Prep Private High School and #8 Best Private K-12 School in the state. Additionally, it was named #12 Best High School for STEM, public or private, in the state. Wilson Hall is the only school in Sumter, Clarendon and Lee counties, public or private, to earn these recognitions. The ranking is based on rigorous analysis of key statistics and reviews from students and parents. Ranking factors include SAT/ACT scores, the quality of colleges that students consider, student-teacher ratio, private school ratings, and more. Data is sourced from the U.S. Department of Education, Niche users, and schools directly.

Grand Opening

Coulter & Bradley Named Mr./Miss Wilson Hall

Emma Bradley & Cameron Coulter

Seniors Cameron Coulter & Emma Bradley received the honor of Mr. & Miss Wilson Hall. Each fall the upper school faculty nominates students for Mr. & Miss Wilson Hall and the Mr. & Miss for grades 9-11. When nominating a student the faculty considers the following factors: above average academics, participation in athletics and/or extracurricular activities, outstanding citizenship, and excellent character. From the list of faculty nominated candidates, students in grades 9-12 voted for their own class. While voting, students considered the same criteria the faculty considers when choosing the most well rounded representatives of their class and of Wilson Hall. The following underclassmen received this honor: Junior - Davis Lee & Mary Parish Williams, Sophomore - Thomas Creech & Abby Bradley, and Freshmen - Stirling Tindal & Ella Sill.

Owens Receives College Board Recognition

Rhayne Owens

Junior Rhayne Owens earned academic honors from the College Board National Recognition Programs, receiving the National African American Recognition Award. These National Recognition Programs grant underrepresented students with academic honors that can be included on college and scholarship applications and connect students with universities across the country, helping them meaningfully connect to colleges and stand out during the admissions process. Colleges and scholarship programs identify students awarded National African American, Hispanic, Indigenous and/or Rural/Small Town Recognition through College Board’s Student Search Service. Students who may be eligible have a GPA of 3.5 or higher and have excelled on the PSAT/NMSQT or PSAT 10, or earned a score of 3 or higher on two or more AP Exams; and are African American or Black, Hispanic American or Latinx, Indigenous, and/or attend school in a rural area or small town.

Senior Superlatives

Sarah Sonntag & Sumter Cooper

Sarah Sonntag & Sumter Cooper were voted Most Likely to Succeed for the Senior Superlatives. The following were also selected by their classmates: Most Athletic - Amberly Way & Boykin Wilder, Most Dependable - Caitlyn Schumacher & Will Singleton, Friendliest - Annabelle Huffman & Caleb Howle, Most Intelligent - Jada Hall & Cameron Coulter, Most School Spirit - Emma Bradley & Wilson Frerichs, Most Talented - Bailey McInerney & Noah Kennedy, and Wittiest - Sophie Greene & Coner Breen.

Mr. Kaneft Welcomed as Associate Head of School

Mr. Brent Kaneft ‘00 joined the faculty in June as the Associate Head of School and will become Wilson Hall’s eighth Head of School in June of 2023. He will work very closely with Mr. Fred Moulton, Head of School, learning of every aspect of the school’s operation before Mr. Moulton’s retirement. Mr. Kaneft will also teach Advanced Placement Research. 

Mr. Kaneft has 16 years of experience in independent education as an administrator and as a teacher. Most recently he served as the Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Park Tudor School, a co-educational day school with over 900 students in preschool-12 located in Indianapolis, Indiana. In addition to curriculum development, his many duties included professional development, new employee orientation and mentorship, faculty evaluation, and instructional technology. Mr. Kaneft also taught Advanced Placement Literature and Composition, English IV, American Literature, and creative writing.  

Prior to Park Tudor, Mr. Kaneft was an English teacher and department chair at Christ School, a boys boarding and day school in Asheville, North Carolina, and he worked as an English teacher at Blue Ridge School, a boys boarding school in St. George, Virginia. In addition to teaching, he has coached baseball and football.  

He graduated from the University of South Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in English, James Madison University with a Master of Arts in English Literature, and Indiana University with a Master of Science in educational leadership. Mr. Kaneft is the author of numerous articles published by the National Association of Independent Schools’ Independent School Magazine and Independent Ideas Blog, as well as by Intrepid Ed News and the Southern Association of Independent Schools.  

AP Scholars

Jada Hall, Sumter Cooper & Sarah Sonntag

Because of their exceptional achievement on the college-level Advanced Placement (AP) Exams, 39 students received recognition from the College Board. About 22 percent of the 2.2 million students worldwide who took AP Exams performed at a sufficiently high level to earn an AP Scholar Award. In May 90 Wilson Hall students became eligible to receive college credit by earning a score of 3 or higher on at least one exam. Wilson Hall's average passing rate is 86%, above the global average passing rate of 60%. 

The AP is a global academic program in more than 100 countries. AP Exams, which students take after completing challenging college-level courses taught at their high school, are graded on a five-point scale (5 being the highest). Most of the nation’s colleges and universities award credit, advanced placement, or both for grades of 3 or higher. To qualify to teach an AP course, teachers must attend an intensive AP workshop held during the summer. Wilson Hall offers 22 AP courses, more than any school in Sumter, Clarendon and Lee counties.

Sumter Cooper, Jada Hall and Sarah Sonntag, Class of ‘23, received the AP Scholar with Distinction Award for earning an average grade of at least 3.5 on all exams taken, and grades of 3 or higher on five or more exams. Also receiving this honor were the following members of the Class of ‘22: Rachel Bostic, Kieran Cosden, Kate Eichburg, Ashlyn Goode, William Hardee, Mary Jones, Annie Lauzon, Lucy Matthews, Hugh McLaurin and Madi Smith.

Sophie Greene, Bailey McInerney and Rebekah Patel, Class of ‘23, received the AP Scholar with Honor Award for earning an average grade of at least 3.25 on all AP Exams taken, and grades of 3 or higher on four or more exams. Also receiving this honor were the following members of the Class of ‘22: Evan Bell, Chanson Bullard, Mary Claire Graves, Duncan James and Doug McAdams. 

The following students received the AP Scholar Award for earning a 3 or higher on at least three exams: (Class of ‘23) John Morgan Bates, Sam Fisher, Cody Peyton, Steve Scholz, Caitlyn Schumacher and Shrey Sheth; (Class of ‘22) Sarah Margaret Branham, Abby Clanton, Ivey Edwards, Ansleigh Epps, Natalie Ford, Alex Jackson, Nolan Lamb, Tyler Mahr, Ansh Patel, Anna Hays Shuler, Ellie Spencer and Doc Walker.

School Receives Re-Accreditation

After a lengthy and very detailed process, Wilson Hall received a unanimous recommendation from the visiting committee for dual re-accreditation by the Southern Association of Independent Schools and COGNIA (formerly AdvancED), a national accreditation organization.

The four-member visiting team, composed of education professionals from private schools throughout the southeast, visited our campus for three days and met with faculty, students, parents and alumni. Prior to the visit, Wilson Hall submitted a detailed report about the school and included a strategic plan for improvement in the following areas: curriculum and instruction enhancement, nurturing the whole Baron community, and improving campus facilities. The goals for improvement were compiled from hundreds of surveys from students, alumni, parents & faculty.