Wilson Hall students often say that a big part of their educational experience takes place outside the classroom, and there is a good bit of truth in that statement. Our students learn to enjoy a healthy balance between work and play, and Wilson Hall provides the opportunity for students to enjoy themselves with their friends and faculty through an extraordinary array of student activities. It is easy to see why students who enjoy coming to school do so much better academically.
From pep rallies like the Musical Chairs Competition and The Baron Games to events such as the Homecoming Parade and Prom, students have a wide variety of activities to keep them busy. School-wide events such as the Fall Festival encourage the participation of not only students, but also the participation of parents. Art shows, theater productions and music programs for students of all ages not only entertain but help create well-rounded young people.
Through these activities, students learn not only to respect, motivate, and lead their fellow Barons, but they also discover their own abilities and test their own values.
Because of the small size of the student body, students are able to become active in various organizations. No matter how diverse a student’s interests and talents are, each person can usually find a group of students and faculty to share them. The Debate Team, Fellowship of Christian Athletes, and Spring Musical are just a few of the 20 clubs and organizations Wilson Hall offers.
The Super Sonic Dance-off Pep Rally featured 12 groups, composed of at least one varsity cheerleader and one varsity boys and girls basketball player, performing 10-second routines in quick succession. The varsity cheerleading squad sponsored the pep rally for the Baron Classic basketball tournament.
-$10.00 per person
-Pay in cash at the door or charge to student's FACTS account
-For students in grades 9-12 only
-Students may invite one guest from another school (high school only), but must submit a guest permission form by Dec. 14
-Students do not need to have a date to attend
-Sponsored by the Student Council
Wilson Hall’s 34th Grandfriends Day celebration for students in preschool through fifth grade was held on November 3, welcoming over 700 special guests to our campus. Parks Brown ‘31 opened the program, held in the Nash Student Center, with the invocation and Tripp Atkinson ‘33 led the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Student Body President Slade Custer ‘24 spoke about the school’s vision, "Every student will be known, loved, challenged, and safe," and how he sees it practiced each day at school. He also showed appreciation for the grandparents in attendance while recounting personal memories with his grandfather. He was followed by a music program that opened with students singing “We Are Glad You Are Here” and closed with “We Are Thankful for the USA” with students carrying American flags. The music was directed by Mrs. Julia Sims-Owens, music teacher. Mr. Bill Price, a parent and grandparent of Wilson Hall alumni and a current grandparent of a Wilson Hall student, talked about the important role grandparents play at our school. Mr. Brent Kaneft ‘00, Head of School, closed the program by thanking the grandparents for their continued support of the school.
Following the program, students returned to their classrooms and welcomed their guests, showing them special writing and art projects and introducing them to their teachers. They then gave their guests a guided tour of the campus, visiting each of their co-curricular classes (art, computer science, library, music and physical education) and the Founders Chapel. The Baron Ambassadors, chaired by Jennings Frerichs ‘24 and advised by Mr. Sean Hoskins, were throughout the campus to greet guests and to assist with directions. Baron Ambassadors also transported some guests to and from their cars via golf carts. The PTO Hospitality Committee, chaired by Mrs. Caroline Zitzke, provided the refreshments.
The event was sponsored by the Development Office and coordinated by Mrs. Laura Barr, Director of Development, and Mrs. Martha Jo Smith Johnson ‘99, Development Associate, who were assisted by Mrs. Becky Haley and Mrs. Adelaide Spencer, Director of Administration.
Sponsored by the varsity cheerleading squad and coordinated by class presidents, the Pyramid Competition Pep Rally featured a competition among teams representing the 9th-12th grades. Boys competed against boys and girls against girls to see which team could build a human pyramid the fastest. The juniors won the competition for the boys and the seniors for the girls, and the junior boys won the overall competition.
The Karaoke Competition Pep Rally, featuring the senior football players, was sponsored by the varsity cheerleading squad in the Nash Student Center. The players, who were divided into three teams, selected their own music and costumes and created their own choreography.
Katie Croft was crowned the 52nd Homecoming Queen during half-time of the varsity football game on Spencer Field on October 13. The Senior Class nominated seven girls from the class to be on the Homecoming Court and students in grades 9-12 voted for the queen. In addition to Katie, the following members of the Class of ‘24 were elected to the court: Helen Fitzpatrick, Mary Margaret Griffin, Emmi Leard, Maggie Norris, Marybeth VanPatten and Mary Parish Williams. Mr. Brent Kaneft, Head of School, crowned Katie and presented her with a bouquet of white roses with the assistance of Jolene Jackson & Marin Yoder, flower girls, and Gunner Green, crown bearer. Mrs. Rachel Brown & Mr. Sean Hoskins organized the court on behalf of the Student Council.
The 48th Homecoming Parade traveled the 4-mile route through the nearby neighborhood Friday. Each class, grades 6-12, sponsored a class float with the juniors winning in the high school with a pirate theme and the 8th grade winning in middle school with a cookout theme. Other themes were disco, ESPN Gameday, movie theater, and construction. The varsity football team rode on a trailer, the cheerleaders rode in the back of trucks, and the girls on the Homecoming Court rode in convertibles. Every middle and high school student rode in the parade which was escorted by the Sumter Police Department. In addition to the 300 elementary school students cheering from campus, there were about 400 people along the parade route. Student Council officers coordinated their class floats; Ms. Eldridge and I are the advisors.
Students arrived on campus Homecoming morning to find the entire high school building decorated by the varsity cheerleading squad to the theme of Baron Snow Day. With the winter theme, the inside of the building had intricately painted banners and decorations that covered the floor, walls and ceiling. White plastic covered the floors and snowflakes and silver streamers hung from the ceiling, and fabric simulating snow was on the bottom of the walls. The entryway had a scene of snowmen, with photographs of the players as the heads, ice skating in a snow covered park and the cheerleaders, also with photos, at a ski lodge. Banners had themes such as “Ski Patrol,” with the coaches riding snowmobiles, and “There’s Snowplace Like Wilson Hall” with administrators having a snowball fight. Other banners were “Polar Barons” with polar bears wearing jerseys, “It’s All Downhill for the Eagles” with an eagle skiing out of control, and “Skating to a Victory” with speed skaters. The court was featured in an ice castle with white lights, and the hall by the science labs was transformed into an ice cave. Mary Margaret Griffin is the captain and Mary Parish Williams co-captain of the squad which is advised by Mrs. Frances James & Mrs. Ashley Lareau.
To celebrate Homecoming. Spirit Week found students and faculty members dressing up to the following themes: USA, country vs. country club, jerseys, group costume, and extreme blue & white. Students and faculty in Preschool 3 - 12th grade participated in showing their school spirit.
Members of the Senior Class participate in the Seniors Adopting Seniors program. For this program, seniors visit the residents of Covenant Place periodically throughout the year with the aim of promoting camaraderie and fellowship between the two groups. Organized by the Senior Class Officers, the program is led by Class President Davis Lee.
The annual week-long mini-cheerleading clinic, sponsored by the varsity cheerleading squad, culminated with a performance on Spencer Field during halftime of the varsity football game. Approximately 150 girls in preschool 4 through fifth grade participated in the clinic, which was held after school, when they were taught a dance, chants and cheers by the varsity cheerleaders. The sixth-grade girls on the new B-team cheerleading squad also performed.
The Ships & Sailors pep rally, sponsored by the varsity cheerleading squad, was held in the Nash Student Center. Eight students from each grade in 9th-12th competed in the event which involved a series of ten commands with different groupings of people, with people being eliminated each time until only two remained.
Kindergarten and Preschool 4 students welcomed special guests to campus for their annual Dad's Donut Morning. Students recited poems and sang songs, enjoyed donuts and fruit, and presented their fathers, grandfathers or father-figures with special hand-made gifts. Some fathers who could not join the festivities in person did so remotely.
The Student Council hosted an after-game dance for high school students on September 15. Held in the Nash Student Center, approximately 100 people attended the casual, “come as you are” event.
Over 500 guests enjoyed the Baron Family Tailgate Party held at the Nash Student Center on September 15. Catered by Southern Pride BBQ and SweetFrog frozen yogurt, the event allowed Baron Fans of all ages to socialize before heading to Spencer Field for the varsity football game. To promote school spirit Baron Ambassadors, led by chair Jennings Frerichs, distributed pom-poms and souvenir footballs, as well as wristbands for free admission to the game for new families. Mrs. Laura Barr and Mrs. Martha Jo Johnson of the Development Office organized the event.
The 22nd Baron Games, a pep rally for students in grades 6-12, was held in the Nash Student Center on September 15. The pep rally featured four different competitions (Football Hike, Football Toss, Baron Caterpillar and The Baron Drag) in which teams representing the classes competed. Each class had its own t-shirt for the event. Following the events, a varsity football player and coach as well as a fan spoke to the crowd to generate spirit for the upcoming game, and the varsity cheerleaders led the singing the Alma Mater and the school fight song to conclude the program. Student Council President Slade Custer and Vice President Jane McAdams organized the event on behalf of the Student Council which is advised by Mrs. Rachel Brown, Ms. Heather Eldridge and Mr. Sean Hoskins.
To help transition into the new school year, kindergarten students read “Boomer Goes to School” by Constance W. McGeorge. They also presented special stuffed dogs of their own, each winning a unique blue ribbon for specific characteristics (Happiest Dog, Fluffiest Dog, etc.) in the dog show. Students finished their special day by celebrating with graham cracker dog bones for a snack.
The varsity cheerleaders, led by Capt. Mary Margaret Griffin & Co-Capt. Mary Parish Williams, sponsored the Spotlight Pep Rally. The players, often doing some kind of strut or dance move, were introduced by spotlight in a darkened gym, followed by a dance routine by the cheerleaders who were wearing glow in the dark shoes, bracelets and necklaces. Ben Reynolds spoke as a member of the team, Helen Fitzpatrick as a fan, and Mr. Adam Jarecki as the football head coach.
Kindergarten students brought their favorite stuffed animals, shared them with classmates, and put them outside on the benches where they soon disappeared. They hunted throughout the campus to find them, exploring all of their co-curricular classes and meeting those teachers. Students finally found their stuffed friends at the picnic tables in front of the Nash Student Center waiting on them with snacks!
Preschool 4 students went on an adventure searching the campus for Pete the Cat, the popular cartoon cat from the series of books by Dean & Litwin. Held during the first week of school, the search gave the students the opportunity to tour the campus, meet their co-curricular class teachers in their classrooms (art, computer science, library ,music and P.E.), and members of the administration. The students, who wore hats they made for the adventure, eventually found Pete waiting for them in a tree on their playground.
The 66 members of the Class of 2023 received their diplomas during a commencement ceremony held the evening of May 25 at Patriot Hall. As part of the 54th class to graduate from Wilson Hall, the members of this class are now among the 2,973 people who count themselves as one of our school’s alumni. The commencement ceremony was coordinated by Mrs. Sarah Smith, College Counselor, and she was assisted by Mrs. Rachel Jones Brown ‘00 and Mrs. Molly Simpson Matthews ‘93.
Prior to the ceremony, the soon-to-be graduates lined the hallway to applaud the faculty as they made their way to the auditorium to be seated. As the instrumental ensemble played Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance,” the junior marshals led the Class of ‘23 into the auditorium to take their place on the stage.
Class President Wilson Frerichs offered the invocation, which was followed by speeches by Salutatorian Caitlyn Schumacher and Valedictorian Sarah Sonntag. The 52nd John S. Wilson Award was presented to Annabelle Huffman by Mrs. Helen Wilson Taylor '76.
Mr. William Croft ‘90, Chairman of the Board, made a special presentation of an honorary Wilson Hall diploma, the first ever given, to Mr. Fred Moulton, Head of School in recognition of his 38 years of service to the school. A surprised Mr. Moulton received a standing ovation by the crowd of over 800.
Mr. Keller Kissam, President of Dominion Energy South Carolina and a former member of the Wilson Hall Board of Trustees, was the keynote speaker. Mr. Croft presented the diplomas and Mr. Moulton offered his final confirmation of graduates before he asked them to move their tassels from right to left, announcing that they are now graduates.
Mr. Moulton referred to the 2010 commencement address of Mr. Dan Cathy, Chairman of Chick-fil-a, about “passing the baton” to the next generation when Mr. Cathy distributed batons to the parents of graduates. Mr. Moulton, who kept one of Mr. Cathy’s batons, called Mr. Brent Kaneft ‘00, the new Head of School, to the stage to pass the baton to him, marking the official beginning of his role as the ninth head of school.
The recessional music, titled “Legacy,” was another surprise to Mr. Moulton as it was not attributed to a composer in the program. The piece was a compilation of music that Mr. Moulton composed through the years and Mr. Scott Warren, Instrumental Ensemble Director, arranged specially for the ceremony.
The Class of ‘23 stood to sing the Alma Mater as a group for the last time before the faculty recessed from the auditorium to line the steps of Patriot Hall to applaud as the new graduates exited. As his last act as head of school, Mr. Moulton recessed behind the new graduates. After gathering in front of Patriot Hall, the members of the Class of ‘23 tossed their caps in unison to celebrate their transition from students to alumni.
Link to watch the ceremony: https://youtu.be/qv0S3F0Gqbo
The Kindergarten Graduation Program was held in the Nash Student Center on May 19. After the students processed into the gym, Mr. Eddie Talley, Lower School Head, welcomed the crowd. Wilson Lloyd ‘35 offered the invocation, followed by Hunter White ‘35 leading the Pledge of Allegiance and Owens Ripley ‘35 singing “My Country ‘Tis of Thee.” Led by Mrs. Julia Sims-Owens, lower school music teacher, the class sang “Growing,” “Catch the Rhythm” and “Shalom.”
Mr. Talley presented the diplomas to the students and offered closing remarks before the graduates and guests sang the Alma Mater. After the recessional, the new graduates joined their guests and teachers in front of the Nash Student Center for refreshments and photo opportunities. Mrs. Jeanna Mahr, PTO Hospitality Chair, and her committee provided the decorations and refreshments.
To recognize academic achievement throughout the school year, the Upper School Academic Awards Program was held in the Nash Student Center for students in 6th-11th grades. There were 77 Lamp of Knowledge presentations by department chairs to the students who earned the highest grade in each course, and 11 plaques presented for special named awards. New members of the Beta Club and National Honor Society were also inducted.
To begin the program Mr. Lee Gandy, Middle School Head, asked the audience to stand as the Class of ‘24 processed into the gym as the instrumental ensemble, directed by Mr. Scott Warren, provided the music. Jane McAdams ‘25, Student Body Vice President, offered the invocation, followed by Milling Galloway ‘26, Student Body Secretary, leading the audience in the Pledge of Allegiance. Slade Custer ‘24, Student Body President, welcomed the crowd before the awards were presented. At the program’s conclusion, students stood to sing the Alma Mater before the Class of ‘24 recessed from the gym. The program was organized by Mrs. Susan Barfield, Academic Dean.
The school celebrated the last day of classes of the seniors with the Last Day Luncheon on May 16. Held in the Nash Student Center, the program featured a keynote speech by Mr. Eddie Talley, Assistant Head of School, who was selected by the class. Seniors and their parents enjoyed a lunch catered by Southern Pride Barbeque followed by plenty of photo opportunities. At the end of the school day, the senior officers offered parting words to the underclassmen over the loudspeaker before joining in the hall to sing the Alma Mater. The program is coordinated by Mrs. Laura Barr and Mrs. Martha Jo Smith Johnson ‘99 of the Development Office.
To encourage reading, students in 1st-5th were rewarded with special field trips for meeting benchmarks in the number of pages read throughout the year. To attend the trips students had to read the following amount of pages from books of their choice (assigned reading does not count toward the goal): 1st - 2,000, 2nd-4th - 4,000, and 5th - 6,000. With Mr. Eddie Talley, Lower School Head, the 1st & 2nd grades visited Chuck E. Cheese in Sumter, 3rd & 4th grades went to the Chuck E. Cheese in Columbia, and the 5th grade visited Plex HiWire Sports Center in Columbia.
Three-year-old preschool students welcomed special guests for the Pastries with Parents program. Students recited the Pledge of Allegiance, sang a song about pastries, and sang the Alma Mater before enjoying refreshments with their guests. The students presented their guests with artwork and handmade gifts.
The 25th Class Challenge, a field day for high school students, was held on Spencer Field on April 28. Wearing t-shirts unique to each class, students competed in eight events ranging from traditional activities such as the three-legged race and water balloon toss to the bouncy ball hop and wet sponge relay. The events culminated in the always competitive tug-of-war, followed by students gathering to sing the Alma Mater. The Class of ‘25 was the overall winner. Student Body President Annabelle Huffman ‘23 and Mr. Sean Hoskins coordinated the event on behalf of the Student Council.
Kindergarten students welcomed special guests for the Muffins with Mom Morning on April 26. Held in front of the Nash Student Center, students performed a special music program before enjoying refreshments. Afterward, the guests visited the classrooms to view special art and writing projects created by the students.
Coordinated through the City of Sumter as part of its community cleanup program, the 66 members of the Senior Class picked up trash in four locations in Sumter for a service project during the school day on April 21. The students collected 81 bags with over 2,100 pounds of trash. The groups collected trash along Broad Street, Loring Mill Road, McCray’s Mill Road and Wesmark Boulevard. Prior to boarding buses for the different locations, students met on campus for a breakfast provided by parent volunteers. Once they returned to campus, the seniors cleaned the school’s buses. Mrs. Day Caughman and Mr. Glen Rector coordinated the project.
With the theme of Enchanted Forest, the 50th Junior-Senior Prom was held on campus on April 21. As guests watched, the seniors were introduced during the traditional Grand March outside of the Nash Student Center before they entered the gym for an evening of dancing and socializing. Before the Prom, students and their guests attended either the Senior Prom Dinner, held at Wilson Frerichs’s home, or Junior Prom Dinner, held at Mary Parish Williams’s home. Following the Prom, all students were invited to the Prom Breakfast at the Frerichs’s home. Mary Parish Williams was the Prom Committee Chair and the co-chairs were Jennings Frerichs, Mary Margaret Griffin and Maggie Norris. Ms. Julia Muldrow and Mrs. Smith were the advisors.
As part of the Month of the Military Child, Wilson Hall commemorated “Purple Up! For Military Kids” today as students and faculty wore purple to show support for military children. On the hallway bulletin boards are world maps with pin drops of all the places the students have lived while their parents have served the country; they have lived in 10 countries and 30 states. Approximately 20% of the student body is associated with the military.
To commemorate Easter and the spring season, lower school classes held celebrations on campus or at the homes of students. Easter egg hunts, games and refreshments, organized by teachers and parent volunteers, were enjoyed by students the week leading up to Spring Break.
Hosted by the Student Council, the Middle School Spring Dance was held on the final day of school before the start of Spring Break. Held in the Nash Center Cafeteria, which was decorated with a nautical theme, the event had over 125 attendees who danced to music provided by DJ Roy Neptune of Partytime Entertainment. The pastel-themed hospitality tables, provided by parents of class officers, included cookies, cupcakes and candy. Ms. Heather Eldridge is the advisor for the Middle School Student Council.
In conjunction with their study of the letter Ss, three-year-old preschool students celebrated Dr. Seuss Week a week early. The National Education Association celebrates reading and encourages children to read during Read Across America Day on March 2, which coincides with the birthday of Theodor Seuss Geisel which is celebrated by Dr. Seuss Week. Students participated in Mixed-up Monday, Top Hat Tuesday, Wacky Wednesday (silly socks), Theodore Thursday (stripes), and Funny Friday (dress as a Dr. Seuss character).
The Student-Faculty Basketball Game was held during a pep rally, with the faculty winning 34-10. The women and men each played a seven-minute half. Members of the basketball teams were not eligible to participate, but they did serve as coaches and referees. Annabelle Huffman ‘23, varsity cheer co-captain, organized the event with the assistance of Wilson Frerichs ‘23, Senior Class President.
Sixth grade students designed and created Valentine’s Day cards to send to residents in local nursing homes. This community service project was completed in their Study Skills class.
To recognize their 101st Day of 1st Grade, students had fun with 101 Dalmatian-themed activities and celebrations.
Hosted by the Student Council, the 28th Winter Chill Semi-formal was held in Founders Hall on December 16 to celebrate the conclusion of mid-term exams and the beginning of Christmas break. Over 200 students in grades 9-12 danced to the music provided by PartyTime DJs, socialized, and enjoyed refreshments. Profits will be donated to Prisma Health Children's Hospital.
To promote school spirit for the Baron Classic Basketball Tournament, students and faculty representing grades 6-12 participated in the Musical Chairs Pep Rally. The varsity cheerleaders coordinated the event and performed a special Christmas-themed routine for the crowd. After the main event, players from each varsity team spoke to the crowd before the pep rally concluded with the singing of the Alma Mater and the fight song.
Organized by the varsity cheerleading squad and class presidents, the Baron-Horse-Chariot Pep Rally involved three two-person teams for each class in grades 9-12. The teams raced to complete a command (Baron - student sits on knee of partner, Horse - students piggybacks on partner, or Chariot - student carries partner), with the last team to complete the demand eliminated. Once only two teams remained, they were blindfolded before the final task to determine the winners.