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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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.
Kieran Cosden ‘22, who is attending the University of Notre Dame, was offered a United States Air Force Reserve Officers’ Training Corp Scholarship. The scholarship covers the full cost of tuition, fees and textbooks for four years, plus a monthly stipend for personal expenses. To be eligible for the scholarship, students must earn a minimum SAT score of 1240, achieve at least a 3.0 grade point average in a challenging curriculum, and meet the fitness requirements. After graduating from college, recipients of this scholarship are commissioned as second lieutenants in the U.S. Air Force and serve at least four years.
The 53 members of the Class of 2022 received their diplomas during a commencement ceremony held the evening of May 26 at Patriot Hall. As part of the 53rd class to graduate from Wilson Hall, the members of this class are now among the 2,907 people who count themselves as one of our school’s alumni. As tradition, the seniors lined the corridor to applaud the faculty as they entered the auditorium. Class President Mary Jones offered the invocation, which was followed by speeches by Salutatorian Madi Smith and Valedictorian Rachel Bostic. The 51st John S. Wilson Award was presented to Mary Jones by Mrs. Helen Wilson Taylor '76. The Very Reverend Dr. John Barr, Acting Dean at the Cathedral Church of the Apostles, was the keynote speaker. Mr. William Croft ’90, Chairman of the Board, and Mr. Eddie Talley, Assistant Head of School, presented the diplomas, and Mr. Fred Moulton, Head of School, offered the confirmation of graduates. After singing the Alma Mater, the faculty recessed first to line the steps of Patriot Hall to applaud the new graduates as they exited. The Class of '22 gathered one final time to toss their caps in celebration.
Ivey Edwards 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 110 member schools, and Ivey is the only student who attends a AAA 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 headmaster. The nominee must have a minimum of 50 hours of documented community service after June of the student’s junior year (Ivey has 125 hours) 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.
The following members of the Class of ‘22 were inducted into the Veritas in Unitate Society during the Senior Awards Program: Vivian Bryant, Chanson Bullard, Ivey Edwards, Max Keziah and Lucy Matthews. 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. The Class of ‘22 volunteered for a total of 2,558 hours.
Wilson Hall was voted Best Private School by the readers of The Sumter Item for the 15th year.
Students of the Class of ‘22 wear shirts representing the colleges they will attend in the fall; they are attending 22 different schools in 11 states. Every senior gained acceptance to a four-year college or university, and the 53 members of the class received 215 offers of admission to 66 different schools. Ninety-eight percent of the class was offered a merit-based scholarship, with the class receiving over $7.7 million.
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.
Annabelle Huffman ‘23 was selected as a 2022 Carson Scholar and will receive a $1,000 scholarship award that will be invested for her college education. Established by Dr. and Mrs. Ben Carson, The Carson Scholars Program awards students who have embraced high levels of academic excellence and community service. Scholarship winners receive the honor of being named “Carson Scholars” and are awarded an Olympic-sized medal and a trophy for their school to celebrate their accomplishments.
Students must attend an accredited K-12 school in the United States and must be nominated by his or her school to be able to compete for a Carson Scholarship. Only one student from each school is able to apply, ensuring that each nominee epitomizes academic excellence. Carson Scholars must have a minimum GPA of 3.75 and display humanitarian qualities through community service.
Matthew Stelle ‘23 won the trophy for the highest ranked debater in the novice division in the South Carolina Independent School Association High School State Debate Competition. Matthew and his teammate, Isabella Grudzinski ‘24, placed second in the novice team competition.
“Be it resolved: Cryptocurrency should become the monetary standard for all developed nations” was the topic for the debate, and participants were prepared to argue both the pro and con position of the topic.
Also placing in the high school competition were the teams of Jane McAdams ‘25 and Davis Lee ‘24, third place in varsity division, and Kayla Brown ‘22 and Bayleigh Donhauser ‘25, fourth place in novice division.
In the middle school team competition, Milling Galloway ‘26 and Banks Smith ‘26 placed third and Clayton Hunter ‘26 and Michael Hunter ‘28 placed fifth.
Mr. Ben McIver serves as the advisor for the high school team and Mrs. Dianne Sprott advises the middle school team.