Wilson Hall is hosting Max Lucado for the Mission Series on November 10. In addition to being a pastor and speaker, he is a best-selling author who has sold over 120 copies of his books. The event is open to the public and free of charge.
For 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. Max Lucado joins Dr. Ben Carson, the late Ravi Zacharias, and most recently, Bob Goff, on the roster of speakers who have made an impact on the lives of Wilson Hall students and the greater community.
The 57 members of the Class of 2021 received their diplomas during a commencement ceremony held the evening of May 28 in the Nash Student Center. As part of the 51st class to graduate from Wilson Hall, the members of this class are now among the 2,584 people who count themselves as one of our school’s alumni. Class President Madi DesChamps offered the invocation, which was followed by speeches by Salutatorian Gavyn Mathes and Valedictorian Breland Jones. The 50th John S. Wilson Award was presented to Graham VanPatten by Mrs. Helen Wilson Taylor '76. Dr. Milt Lowder ‘90, the founder and Chief Executive Officer of AMPLOS and a sports psychologist for the Clemson University Athletic Department, was the keynote speaker. Mr. William Croft ’90, Chairman of the Board, presented the diplomas and Mr. Fred Moulton, Headmaster, offered the confirmation of graduates.
Graham VanPatten ‘21 was presented the 50th John S. Wilson Award at the graduation ceremony held in the Nash Student Center. 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 headmaster, 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.
Each year the student who achieves the highest score on the SAT and has attended Wilson Hall from 10th-12th grades receives the honor of being named the Star Student, and this year the honor went to Ga-In Shin. 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. Ga-In chose Mrs. Micki Harritt, a math and science teacher. The Star Student and Star Teacher each presented speeches at the Senior Awards Program.
EmmaLee Peyton 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. Established to honor Mr. Smith, who served for 30 years as the school’s athletic director, the award is accompanied by a check for $250. EmmaLee completed 422 hours of volunteer service from June 2020 - April 2021.
The following members of the Class of ‘21 were inducted into the Veritas in Unitate Society during the Senior Awards Program: Jerica Bozio, Sarah Emily Durham, Breland Jones, Georgia McCart and EmmaLee Peyton. 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 for their headmaster. The Class of ‘21 volunteered a total of 2,195 hours.
Mary Claire Lee 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 following six members of the Class of ‘21, who have attended Wilson Hall since the tenth grade and have the highest grade point averages in the class, were named as Junior Marshals and participated in the Senior Awards Program and Commencement Exercises: Rachel Bostic, Kieran Cosden, Mary Jones, Nolan Lamb, Annie Lauzon and Madi Smith.
Students of the Class of ‘21 wear a shirt representing the college they will be attending in the fall. Every senior gained acceptance to a four-year college or university, and members of the class were offered admission to 61 different schools. Each senior was offered a merit-based scholarship, with the class receiving over $5.8 million.
Wilson Hall was voted Best Private School, Best Elementary School, and Best School Administrator (Mr. Fred Moulton, Headmaster) by the readers of The Sumter Item for the Best of Sumter.
Members of the Senior Class spent the morning of April 23 picking up litter as a part of a citywide initiative to clean up Sumter roads. Students were divided into three groups and covered Wesmark Boulevard, McCray's Mill Road, Jefferson Road, Airport Road, and North Wise Drive. The service project was organized by Mrs. Elizabeth Hyatt & Mr. Glen Rector in collaboration with Mr. Glen Buttons from the City of Sumter.
Wilson Hall won the S.C. Independent School Association State History Day competition with all six members of the History Day Team receiving trophies. The following students, members of the Advanced Placement U.S. History class taught by Mr. Tom O’Hare, swept the top three overall awards: Caitlyn Schumacher ‘23 -1st, Bailey McInerney ‘23 - 2nd, and Sumter Cooper ‘23 - 3rd. Caitlyn also won first place for oral presentation. Kieran Cosden ‘22 won first place for display, Vruj Patel ‘22 won the Passion for History Award, and Ashlyn Goode ‘22 received an honorable mention.
The SCISA History Day, patterned after the National History Day Program, is designed to enhance reading comprehension as well as the verbal, analytical, reasoning and research skills of students. The theme for this year’s project was “Communication in History: The Key to Understanding,” and students addressed the topic’s significance and demonstrated an understanding of its proper historical context. The in-depth research, which included primary and secondary sources, was used for a process paper and annotated bibliography, exhibit, and oral presentation.
Second grade students Susanna Perkins & Jackie Lynch pose by just a few of the 2,594 food items that the lower school collected for Sumter United Ministries, a countywide nonprofit that provides relief to struggling families and helps them get back on their feet. Mrs. Karina Perkins and her committee organized the community service project on behalf of the PTO.
Emily Gray '21 is one of 21 juniors and seniors from across the state who have been named finalists of the annual South Carolina High School Writing Contest. Now in its eighth year, the contest is presented by the South Carolina Honors College in partnership with the Pat Conroy Literary Center, the South Carolina Academy of Authors, the South Carolina Writers Association, and the South Carolina State Library. For the contest, writers answered, within 750 words and in any genre, one question: “How can we make South Carolina better?”
In the Myrtis G. Osteen “Value of Local History to Me” essay contest sponsored by the Sumter County Museum, Wilson Hall students won two of the top three spots. Mary Parish Williams '24 won second place and $200 and Alli Reagan Fidler ‘24 won third place and $100; both are students of Mr. Tom O’Hare. The contest is open to all high school students in Sumter County.
Wilson Hall students raised $17,371 for the Prisma Health Children’s Hospital by hosting its fifth annual Dance Marathon. In partnership with the University of South Carolina Dance Marathon which raises over half a million dollars every year through the Children’s Miracle Network, the money raised will go to support bettering the lives of children at the hospital. As the main community service project that the school sponsors, Wilson Hall raised a total of $65,796 for the cause during the past five years.
Since an actual dance marathon could not be held this year due to COVID safety precautions, the Dance Marathon Committee sponsored a variety of projects and events to raise money. A Drive-In Movie Night, the Basketball Knockout Challenge, and the Nothing Bundt Cake bake sale were just a few of the activities that raised money in addition to the donations made through the MIracle Network’s website.
A student-led organization, Emily Gray ‘21 served as the Head Director with the assistance of Mrs. Liz McCabe, faculty advisor. Also serving on the Dance Marathon Executive Committee are the following members of the Class of ‘21: External Directors - Owings Holler & Kaitlyn Smith, Finance Directors - Camryn Bateman & Gavyn Mathes, Internal Directors - Abbie Beatson & Madi DesChamps, and Social Media Directors - Gracyn Coker, Becca Cromer & Andi Grae Wingate.
Senior Breland Jones 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. Breland received a perfect score from the judges.
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 2019-20 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 14 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 11 other technology classes to high school students.
The students in the Advanced Placement U.S. Government & Politics class taught by Mr. Tom O’Hare will represent South Carolina in the national finals of the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution competition. Sponsored by the Center for Civic Education, the competition will be held virtually in April. The class was invited to the national competition based on its performance in the state competition sponsored by the South Carolina Bar.
The primary goal of the program is to promote civic competence and responsibility among students through an instructional program that enhances students' understanding of the institutions of American constitutional democracy. At the same time, students discover the contemporary relevance of the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The culminating activity is a simulated congressional hearing in which students "testify" before a panel of judges. Students demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of constitutional principles and have opportunities to evaluate, take and defend positions on relevant historical and contemporary issues.
Twenty-nine children in the Sumter community received Christmas gifts from Wilson Hall’s lower school students through the annual Angel Tree Project. Each of the lower school classes adopted a child or family through one of the various Angel Tree projects in Sumter, and each class collected money from its families to purchase items from a child’s wish list. The gifts, which included bicycles, toys, educational items and clothing, were brought to the school by parent volunteers for the students to see before being wrapped and delivered for distribution. The gifts were distributed to the deserving children through the Department of Social Services foster care program, The Salvation Army, or Sumter United Ministries.
Warren Jolicoeur & Storm Owens were voted Most Likely to Succeed by their classmates for the Senior Superlatives. The following students were also chosen for the superlatives: Most Athletic - Andi Grae Wingate & Graham VanPatten; Most Dependable - Madison DesChamps & Heath Watson; Friendliest - Catharine Busch & Miller Jones; Most Intelligent - (tie) Amp Boonaneksap and Ga-In Shin & Gavyn Mathes; Most School Spirit - Breland Jones & Hunter Ives; Most Talented - Sarah Alexander & Logan Kennedy; and Wittiest - Owings Holler & Kaleb Porter.
Seniors Graham VanPatten and Madison DesChamps received the honor of Mr. and Miss Wilson Hall. Each fall the upper school faculty nominates students for Mr. and Miss Wilson Hall and the Mr. and 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 9-11voted for their own class, and all students in 9-12 voted for Mr. and Miss Wilson Hall. 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: Mr. & Miss Junior – Alex McLeod and Lucy Matthews , Mr. & Miss Sophomore – Cameron Coulter and Annabelle Huffman, and Mr. & Miss Freshman – Landon Gilley and Marybeth VanPatten.
Wilson Hall was named the Best Private High School in Sumter County for the second consecutive year by the website Niche. 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 sourced from the U.S. Department of Education, Niche users, and schools directly.
Wilson Hall was selected as the October Yard of the Month for businesses by the Council of Garden Clubs of Sumter. The PTO Landscaping Committee is responsible for the beautification of our campus by maintaining the many planters and flower beds throughout the year.
Eighth-graders David Texas Ardis, Thomas Creech and Sara Helen Simmons qualified for state-level recognition by the Duke University Talent Identification Program this past spring. To qualify for this honor students had to score at least a 540 on the math portion or a 540 on the reading and writing portion of the SAT. These students, who took the SAT as seventh graders, earned a score equal to or better than half of the college-bound seniors who took the tests.
Because of their exceptional achievement on the college-level Advanced Placement (AP) Exams, 18 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 64 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 82%, above the global average passing rate of 61%.
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 21 AP courses, more than any school in Sumter, Clarendon and Lee counties.
Senior Breland Jones 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 Alex Blum, Mary Catherine Matthews, Nick Miller and Naomi Yoder, Class of ’20. Bristol Barnes and Sarah Cain, Class of ‘20, 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. Seniors Hannah Alsaadi, Emily Gray, Warren Jolicoeur, Gavyn Mathes and Graham VanPatten received the AP Scholar Award for earning a 3 or higher on at least three exams. Also receiving this honor were the following 2020 graduates: Sarah Jekel, Madison Landstrom, Ben Matthews, Waverly McIver, Noah Tavarez and Ryan Wernsman.