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 SCUBA Club, Debate Team and Fellowship of Christian Athletes are just a few of the 28 clubs and organizations Wilson Hall offers.
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
Field Day was held on Spencer Field on May 21 for students in grades 1-5. Wearing class t-shirts, students participated in over a dozen activities such as the sack race and the obstacle course, culminating in the fifth grade tug-of-war. To cool off, students enjoyed Kona Ice. Sponsored by the PTO, the event was coordinated by Mrs. Erin McArthur who was assisted by Mrs. Nancy Lee Zimpleman and over three dozen parent volunteers.
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.
Over 325 girls in three-year-old preschool through fifth grade and their guests enjoyed the first Daddy-Daughter Dance on March 16. Students invited their fathers, relatives or special friends to escort them to the dance that was held in the Nash Student Center. Mrs. Stacy Montgomery, PTO President, and fellow PTO Board members provided the flowers, decorations, refreshments and photo booth for the event. Annabelle Huffman ‘23 provided the music, Peyton Linginfelter ‘23 was the official photographer, and Mrs. Rachel Jones Brown ‘00, a high school art teacher, created the corsages and boutonnieres. The event was held in conjunction with the Wilson Hall Spirit Night, coordinated by Mrs. Chrissy Hutto, held at sweetFrog Frozen Yogurt before the dance.
As a community service project the Key Club, in conjunction with the Clarendon Pilot Club and Funds2orgs, sponsored a shoe drive to benefit deserving people in developing nations. Approximately 500 pairs of shoes were collected during the project. Rebekha Patel is the president of the club and Davis Lee the vice president, and the club advisor is Mrs. Stacey Reaves.
Senior Annabelle Huffman, a member of the Key Club, reads to a three-year-old preschool class as part of a service project initiated by the club. For two weeks, including the school’s celebration of Dr. Seuss Week, club members are using their study hall or lunch time to read a book of their choice to lower school students. Club president Rebekha Patel and vice president Davis Lee coordinated the project with the assistance of Mrs. Stacey Reaves, club advisor.
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.
Sponsored by the varsity cheerleaders, the Super Sonic Dance-off was held during a pep rally. Each of the 13 groups of three or four, composed of at least one varsity cheerleader and one varsity boys and girls basketball player, performed 10-second routines in quick succession. The team of Daniel Burton, Peyton Linginfelter and Aubrey Payne was selected by the faculty judges as having the winning routine. Maggie Garrity, captain, and Annabelle Huffman, co-captain, coordinated the pep rally on behalf of the varsity cheerleading squad.
Sponsored by the varsity cheerleading squad, students in grades 9-12 participated in the Balloon Pop Competition during a pep rally. Each grade had five participants who tied a balloon (each class had its own color) around their ankle with a string. The object was to pop the balloons of members of other classes, eliminating them from the competition until a representative/representatives from only one class remained. The event ended with three seniors winning.
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.
Mr. Mark Champagne of Sumter United Ministries accepts the donation of food students and faculty collected for the organization's food pantry. As a community service project, members of the Junior & Senior Beta Clubs and the Key Club collected over 500 items for SUM’s Food Pantry.
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.
Sponsored by the Dance Marathon Committee, the Knockout Basketball Competition was held in the Nash Student Center to raise funds for Prisma Health Children’s Hospital. Winning for the high school was Luke Pedersen and for the middle school was Samuel Brown. Coupled with the Be the Change campaign, over $2,200 was raised. Mrs. Valerie Schoeppner is the Dance Marathon Advisor and the co-directors are Emma Bradley, Bailey McInerney & Caitlyn Schumacher.
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.
Sponsored by the varsity cheerleaders and organized by class presidents, students in grades 9-12 participated in the Pyramid Competition Pep Rally. Classes competed with one another to determine which could form a pyramid the quickest, with the senior boys and senior girls winning the championship.
Members of the Key Club did a litter pick-up as a community service project on October 29, collecting about 25 bags of trash along a two-mile stretch of Lewis Road. President Rebekha Patel and Vice President Davis Lee organized the project with their adviser, Mrs. Stacey Reaves. The Key Club is a student-led service club for high school students associated with Kiwanis International.
Approximately 900 people attended the annual Fall Festival held on Spencer Field on October 25. Sponsored by the PTO, the event included over 20 game booths, inflatable bouncy house and rock climb/slide, costume and pumpkin decorating contests, and concessions.
Annabelle Huffman was crowned the 51st Homecoming Queen during half-time of the varsity football game on Spencer Field on October 7. 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 Annabelle, the following members of the Class of ‘23 were elected to the court: Campbell Bauman, Emma Bradley, Sudie Grace Cromer, Peyton Linginfelter, Bailey McInerney and Sarah Sonntag. Mr. Fred Moulton, Head of School, crowned Annabelle and presented her with a bouquet of white roses with the assistance of Lizzie Catherine Pyles and Anne Beatson Skey, flower girls, and Brooks Grier, crown bearer.
The Student Council sponsored the 47th Homecoming Parade that traveled the four-mile route through the nearby neighborhood on the afternoon of October 18. Each class, grades 6-12, sponsored a class float with one of the following themes: camouflage, Christmas, construction, Hawaii, the movie Up, and World Wrestling Entertainment. The varsity and J.V. football players and cheerleaders rode in 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. The Student Council is advised by Mrs. Rachel Jones Brown, Ms. Heather Eldridge & Mr. Sean Hoskins.
A variety of activities took place to celebrate Homecoming. Spirit Week found students and faculty members dressing up to the following themes: holidays, country vs. country club, Y2K, group costume, and extreme blue and white.
Students arrived on campus the morning of October 7 to find the entire high school building decorated by the varsity cheerleading squad to the theme of “Baron Game Night.” With the game theme, the inside of the building had intricately painted banners and decorations that covered the floor, walls and ceiling. Students of all ages enjoyed the festive atmosphere throughout the day. Maggie Garrity is the captain and Annabelle Huffman co-captain of the squad which is advised by Mrs. Frances James and Mrs. Ashley Lareau.
Kindergarten and four-year-old preschool 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 dads with special hand-made gifts.
While learning about community helpers, students in the three-year-old preschool class hosted members of the Sumter Police Department and Sumter Fire and Rescue on campus. Students were taught about the duties of officers and how to stay safe, as well as how to dial 911, the importance of knowing their names and addresses, and what to do if an alarm sounds. Students also posed for pictures by police vehicles and had a fire truck scavenger hunt.
Students, faculty and parents gather around the flagpole at 7:15 AM for the annual See You at the Pole, a global day of student prayer. The event began in 1990 as a grassroots movement with ten students praying at their school, and over three decades later, millions pray on their campuses on the fourth Wednesday in September. See You at the Pole is simply a prayer rally where students meet at the flagpole before school to lift up their friends, families, teachers, school, and nation to God. Wilson Hall’s event is sponsored by the Fellowship of Christian Athletes and First Priority Christian Club.
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 on September 23. Approximately 140 girls in preschool through sixth grade participated in the clinic, which was held after school, when they were taught a dance, chants and cheers by the varsity cheerleaders.
The Ships & Sailors pep rally, sponsored by the varsity cheerleading squad, was held in the Nash Student Center on September 23. Ten 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.
In honor of the active duty and retired military members of the Wilson Hall community, a Military Appreciation Night was held during the varsity football game on September 9. Approximately 19% of Wilson Hall's student body is associated with the military. Spencer Field was decorated with two dozen American flags and and dozens of red, white & blue balloons, and fans wore patriotic attire or special t-shirts made for the event. A chaplain from Shaw Air Force Base offered the invocation, a color guard from the base presented the U.S. flag, and a member of the Air Force sang the anthem. A student, on horseback while carrying the American flag, led the team onto the field.
The 21st Baron Games, a pep rally for students in grades 6-12, was held in the Nash Student Center on September 9. Organized by the Student Council, 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, which the 10th and 8th grades won. Following the events, a varsity football coach and cheerleader spoke to the crowd regarding the upcoming game, and the varsity cheerleaders led the crowd in singing the Alma Mater and the school fight song to conclude the program.
As a follow up to their Junior Class Retreat in the spring, the members of the Senior Class attended a day-long retreat at Camp Bob Cooper on the shores of Lake Marion in Summerton. The class had several sessions, led by faculty members, regarding re-evaluating the class and individual goals set in the spring and how these goals are being realized. Students enjoyed recreational time in and on the lake including swimming, kayaking, paddle boarding, volleyball, log rolling, and jumping on the “blob” before having lunch and heading back to campus.
Over 400 guests enjoyed the Baron Family Tailgate Party held at the Nash Student Center on August 26. Catered by Southern Pride BBQ and the Sweet Frog frozen yogurt truck, the event allowed Baron Fans of all ages to socialize before heading to Spencer Field for the first varsity football game of the year. To promote school spirit Baron Ambassadors distributed pom-poms and souvenir footballs, as well as wristbands for free admission to the game for new families. The event is sponsored by the Development Office.
To celebrate the start of the school year, the Student Council sponsored a back-to-school dance for high school students following the first varsity football game on August 26. Approximately 150 students danced and socialized during the inaugural event held in the new Founders Hall.
New students in grades 1-12, and their parents, were welcomed to campus August 10 for the annual New Student Orientation. After a welcome from Mr. Fred Moulton, Head of School, students were given tours of the campus by student ambassadors. They also attended workshops regarding curriculum, technology and class schedules followed by a lunch provided by the PTO. Following lunch, lower school students enjoyed a Popsicles on the Playground party, also sponsored by the PTO. Wilson Hall welcomes our 130 new students and their families.
Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Math (STEAM) Camp is just one of the 30 camps offered this summer in the Above & Beyond Summer Camp Program. For students of all ages, the week-long camps appeal to a wide variety of interests such as art, equestrian, football, Lego, robotics and volleyball.
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.
To recognize academic achievement, the Senior Awards Program was held in the Nash Student Center on May 24. Class Secretary Anna Hays Shuler offered the invocation, Class Vice President Evan Bell led the Pledge of Allegiance, and Class President Mary Jones delivered the Senior Address. During the program, department chairs presented books on behalf of teachers with a personal inscription to the student who earned the highest average in his or her class. Special named awards and the salutatorian and valedictorian medals were presented, honor graduates were recognized, and the Star Student & Star Teacher presented their speeches. The program was coordinated by Mrs. Ashley Lareau and Mrs. Sarah Smith. Following the program, the seniors attended a catered luncheon at the home of a student.
Field Day was held on Spencer Field to celebrate the end of the school year. Students in grades 1-5, wearing class t-shirts, participated in over a dozen activities, such as the sack race and the tug-of-war. To cool off, students ran through the sprinklers and enjoyed Kona Ice. Sponsored by the PTO, over three dozen parents volunteered to ensure the event ran smoothly.