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Cosden Receives ROTC Scholarship

Kieran Cosden

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. 
 

Class of '22 Graduates

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. 

Edwards Receives Watt Award

Ivey Edwards & Mrs. Sarah Smith

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.

 

Jones Receives Wilson Award

Mary Jones

 

Mary Jones was presented the 51st 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.

Congratulations Class of 2022!

Lauzon Receives Moersen Service Award

Mr. Neal Moersen & Annie Lauzon

Annie Lauzon is the first recipient of 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. 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.

 

O'Hare & Goode Star Teacher & Student

Mr. Tom O'Hare & Ashlyn Goode

Each year the student who achieves the highest score on the SAT 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 Ashlyn Goode. 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. Ashlyn chose Mr. Tom O’Hare who taught her Advanced Placement U.S. Government & Politics and Advanced Placement U.S. History. The Star Student and Star Teacher each presented speeches at the Senior Awards Program.

Keziah Receives Smith Volunteer Award

Mrs. Sarah Smith & Max Keziah

Max Keziah 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. Max completed 209 hours of volunteer service from June 2021 - April 2022.

Five Tapped for Veritas in Unitate Society

Max Keziah, Vivian Bryant, Chanson Bullard,
Ivey Edwards & Lucy Matthews

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.

Jones Receives Young Academic Achievement Award

Tyler Jones

Tyler Jones 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.

Honor Marshals

Cameron Coulter, Sophie Greene, Jerry Brown, Sarah Sonntag,
John Morgan Bates & Caitlyn Schumacher

The following members of the Class of ‘23, who have attended Wilson Hall since the tenth grade and have the highest grade point averages in the class, were named as Junior Marshals: John Morgan Bates, Jerry Brown, Cameron Coulter, Sophie Greene, Caitlyn Schumacher & Sarah Sonntag. The marshals participated in the Senior Awards Program and the Graduation Ceremony.

Burleson Presented Reynolds Award

Addy Burleson

Addy Burleson 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. Accompanying the plaque is a check for $1,000 that is applied toward the recipient’s tuition.

Wilson Hall Voted Best of Sumter

Wilson Hall was voted Best Private School by the readers of The Sumter Item for the 15th year.

College Shirt Day

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.

Jackson Receives Gold Medal for Latin

Josie Jackson

Josie Jackson received a gold medal and a Summa Cum Laude certificate for her performance on the National Latin Exam. Receiving silver medals and Maxima Cum Laude certificates were Carter Gronau, Diya Patel, Sara Helen Simmons & Mary Parish Williams. Over 150,000 students worldwide enrolled in Latin classes took the National Latin Exam in March. Mr. Ben McIver is the Latin I, II & III and Advanced Placement Latin teacher.

 

Eichburg Wins Poetry Competition

Kate Eichburg

Kate Eichburg, a student in the Advanced Placement English Literature class taught by Mr. Josh Jennings, won first place in the University of South Carolina Sumter Poetry Contest. She, along with the other nine finalists from Sumter County, were invited to a poetry reading at USC Sumter at which time she was announced the winner. Of the 10 finalists, seven were Wilson Hall students. William Hardee & Alex Jackson, taught by Mr. Jennings, were named finalists. Isabella Grudzinski  & Mary Parish Williams, students in the Honors English II class taught by Mrs. Molly McDuffie, and Josie Jackson & Sara Hayes Ridgeway, taught by Mrs. Molly Simpson Matthews in the Honors English I class, were also finalists.

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.  

 

Beasley Wins Essay Contest

Olivia Beasley

Olivia Beasley ‘24 won first place in the Myrtis G. Osteen “Value of Local History to Me” essay contest sponsored by the Sumter County Museum and Jane McAdams ‘25 placed third. Both  students, who are taught by Mr. Tom O’Hare, are invited to read their essays at an awards ceremony held at the museum. The contest is open to all high school students in Sumter County.

 

Huffman Named Carson Scholar

Annabelle Huffman

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.

Stelle Wins State Debate Award

Matthew Stelle

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.

AP Government Class 2nd in State Competition

Annie Lauzon, Duncan James, Ashlyn Goode
& Kieran Cosden

The students in the Advanced Placement U.S. Government & Politics class taught by Mr. Tom O’Hare placed second overall in the We the People: The Citizen and the Constitution competition for South Carolina. The team qualifies for the national competition. The group of seniors Kieran Cosden, Ashlyn Goode, Mary Claire Graves, Duncan James and Annie Lauzon earned special recognition for Best Presentation of a Unit. 

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.

Max Lucado Visits Wilson Hall

World-renowned author Max Lucado visited the campus for the Mission Series on November 10 in the Nash Student Center. In addition to being a pastor and speaker, Lucado is a best-selling author who has written over 100 books that have sold over 130 million copies. 

He spoke to over 1,000 people during the two programs. During the school day he met with members of the Senior Class, encouraging them to “find your story” before posing for photos with the students. Each senior received a copy of Mr. Lucado’s recent book, You Were Made for This Moment. Mr. Lucado then spoke to all students in 6th-12th during an assembly, using the title of the book as the key topic. 

At the evening program Mr. Lucado used the title of one of his books, Anxious for Nothing, as the topic. The event was open to the community free of charge; the crowd was limited to 600. 

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. 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.  

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.

McLeod & Matthews, Mr. & Miss Wilson Hall

Alex McLeod & Lucy Matthews

Seniors Alex McLeod & Lucy Matthews 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 9-11 voted 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 – Sumter Cooper and Sarah Sonntag , Mr. & Miss Sophomore – Dillon Bartlett and Maury Shuler, and Mr. & Miss Freshman – Shawn Michael Matthews and Sara Hayes Ridgeway. 

Goode a National Merit Commended Student

Senior Ashlyn Goode was recognized in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program as a Commended Student. The program recognizes high school seniors who have excelled in academics and have the potential to succeed in rigorous college studies, and about 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their exceptional academic promise. Commended Students placed among the top 50,000 scorers of more than 1.5 million students who entered the 2022 competition by taking the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test.

Wilson Hall Named to Top 10 List

The website Niche lists Wilson Hall among the top 10 Best Private Schools in South Carolina for its 2022 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 #6 Best College Prep Private High School and #8 Best Private K-12 School in the state. 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.

Senior Superlatives

Mary Jones & Nolan Lamb, 
Most Likely to Succeed

The following students were selected by their classmates for the Senior Superlatives:
Most Likely to Succeed - Mary Jones & Nolan Lamb
Most Athletic - Lucy Matthews & Tate Sistare
Most Dependable - Anna Hays Shuler & Alex McLeod
Friendliest - Ellie Spencer & Hugh McLaurin 
Most Intelligent - Rachel Bostic & Kieran Cosden
Most School Spirit - Ansleigh Epps & Tyler Jones
Most Talented - Ashlyn Goode & William Cooper
Wittiest - Mary Claire Graves & Will Croft

Record Number of New Students Welcomed

Griffin Timmons, a new student in the  
3-year-old preschool class.

Wilson Hall welcomed 149 new Barons at the start of the school year, the largest group of new students to enroll at one time in over five decades. The school has a total enrollment of 804 students and 118 staff members.

29 Advanced Placement Scholars

29 AP Scholars
Madi Smith & Ashlyn Goode

Because of their exceptional achievement on the college-level Advanced Placement (AP) Exams, 29 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 80%, 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.

Hannah Alsaadi, Warren Jolicoeur, Breland Jones and Gavyn Mathes, Class of ‘21, 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. 

Ashlyn Goode and Madi Smith, Class of ‘22, and Enrick Dickey, Emily Gray and Justin Kang, Class of ‘21, 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. 

The following students received the AP Scholar Award for earning a 3 or higher on at least three exams: (Class of ‘22) Rachel Bostic, Kieran Cosden, Mary Claire Graves, William Hardee, Mary Jones, Nolan Lamb and Annie Lauzon; (Class of ‘21) Sarah Alexander, Amp Boonaneksap, Gracyn Coker, William Coulter, Owings Holler, Logan Kennedy, Mary Luebbert, Georgia McCart, Colton Muszynski, Wade Payne, Kaitlyn Smith, Graham VanPatten and Heath Watson.