Field trips to local venues such as the Sumter Fire Department or the Sumter County Museum to week-long trips abroad to France and Italy, in addition to overnight trips to Charleston, New York City, the mountains of North Carolina, or Washington, D.C., only further expand the experiences and learning opportunities of students.
In conjunction with their South Carolina History unit on government, third grade students traveled to the State House in Columbia for a tour of the grounds and the inside of the building. Speaker of the House Murrell Smith, a 1986 Wilson Hall graduate, invited students to sit on the House floor while he told them all about the legislative process, and he gave them an opportunity to “vote” like the representatives do.
As part of the curriculum in their U.S. History class, the fourth grade students participated in the Wilson Hall Colonial Day which was held at the Carolina Backcountry Homestead at the Sumter County Museum on November 10. This recreated homestead, which hosts living history events, includes a log cabin, settler’s house, a smokehouse, barn, commissary (storehouse), loom house, outhouse, blacksmith shop, and gardens. Colonial Day offers a hands-on learning experience of daily life during the late 18th and early 19th centuries. Dressed in period costume, the students participated in a wide variety of activities, including colonial cooking and a militia drill. Also dressed in period costume, parent volunteers and teachers assisted the museum’s staff and volunteers with the different activities throughout the day. The fourth grade teachers are Mrs. Tammy Amick, Mrs. Laura Brogdon and Mrs. Megan Zimmerman.
Through activities such as white water rafting on the French Broad River, the sixth grade experienced an educational and enjoyable trip to Camp Kanuga in Hendersonville, N.C., from October 25-27. The school’s 21st trip gave the students the opportunity to participate in four classes taught by the Mountain Trail Outdoor School which is located in the Appalachian Mountains. These classes included a cooperation and low ropes course, a hands-on course in rappelling, an orienteering and wilderness survival course, and a course in forest ecology. Students also enjoyed activities to promote bonding and team building with their classmates, such as campfires and recreational games, as well as time for daily devotion.
In conjunction with their early South Carolina History unit, third grade students visited the Sumter County Museum to tour the Backcountry Homestead and to watch the puppet show sponsored by the Sumter Junior Welfare League.
Filling three chartered buses, the fifth grade students and their parents and chaperons, led by the trip’s coordinator, Mrs. Kathy Smith Coker ‘98, departed for the school’s 40th trip to the Washington, D.C., area on October 14 for a five-day trip. After visiting George Washington’s home at Mount Vernon, the group spent two full days sightseeing in the city and the surrounding area, visiting such points of interest as the Capitol, Library of Congress, National Cathedral, White House, and Washington Monument. They also visited Arlington National Cemetery and the Jefferson, Vietnam War and World War II Memorials, as well as Ford’s Theater and the National Archives. The group visited the Smithsonian’s American History and Natural History Museums and the Holocaust Museum. They enjoyed an evening tour of the city which included the illuminated Korean War, Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt, and Martin Luther King Jr. Memorials. As an assignment in conjunction with their U.S. History unit of their social studies class taught by Mrs. Frances James, the students will give a Google slide presentation about their trip to their parents.
As a follow up to their Junior Class Retreat, the seniors went on a mini-retreat to Camp Bob Cooper on the shore of Lake Marion in Summerton. Students participated in group activities such as an autograph hunt, reviewed the iMovies they made in the spring about the traits and characteristics they would like to emulate as seniors, and participated in waterfront activities before having lunch. Mrs. Laura Barr and Mr. Glen Rector coordinated the event.
Mr. Scott Warren, French teacher, escorted a group of students, parents and alumni on a nine-day tour of France. The group spent three days in Paris doing walking and bus tours, visiting highlights such as the Louvre, the world’s largest museum, and the Catacombs which contains the remains of over six million people located below the city. They visited neighborhoods like The Latin Quarter at the University of Paris, viewed numerous churches such as the Cathedral at Notre Dame, and enjoyed photo opportunities at famous landmarks like the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe. The tour included a cruise on the Seine River and a trip to Versailles. From Paris, the group traveled by high-speed train to Provence in the south of France to visit Avignon, Arles, le Pont du Gard, and the Saint Paul de Mausole Monastery. While in the area they visited a family-run olive oil production facility for a tour and an olive oil tasting. The group proceeded to Cannes on the French Riviera. While there, they went to Cassis for a boat tour and swam in the Mediterranean Sea, visited Monaco, and shopped in Nice.
Led by Mrs. Sarah Smith, College Counselor, students, faculty and parents enjoyed a 12-day grand tour of Italy with EF Educational Tours in June. After landing in Milan the group traveled to Venice for a guided tour that included St. Mark’s Square, a gondola ride on the Grand Canal, and a water taxi to the island of Burano for a glass-blowing demonstration. The tour of Florence included the Piazza della Signoria, Ponte Vecchio, and Basilica of Sante Croce. The group visited the Basilica of St. Francis in Assisi, the ruins of Pompeii, the Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the seaside of Sorrento. A three-day visit in Rome included the Sistine Chapel and St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City, as well as the Trevi Fountain, Pantheon and Spanish Steps. Other highlights of Rome included the Catacombs, Trastevere, Theatre Marcellus, and Tiberino Island.
In conjunction with their history and science classes, seventh grade students visited Charleston County from May 2-4. Students and chaperones spent two nights on the historic USS Yorktown. The decommissioned aircraft carrier is anchored at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant at the mouth of the Cooper River on the Charleston Harbor. Also at Patriots Point is the Vietnam Experience Exhibit, a fully immersive two-acre exhibit that brings Marine officers to life through holograms in a 3-D production.
The group also visited the Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, which introduces visitors to the earliest colonial history of Charleston through interactive hands-on exhibits, including the Adventure, Charleston's only 17th-century replica sailing ship. The grounds include 80 acres of gardens, with an elegant live oak alley and the historic Legare Waring House. To further their exposure to historically significant sights, the group took a boat ride to Fort Sumter National Historic Park, located in the Charleston Harbor.
The group spent a day on a boat tour with Barrier Island Eco-Tours and visited Capers Island where the students studied the ecology and enjoyed lunch on the beach. Scientific process and inquiry skills were promoted and reinforced throughout the field trip as students learned about organisms, habitats, communities, and ecosystems, as well as the environmental and geological factors that influence them.
Kindergarten students visited Dorr Farms in Gable to pick strawberries and learn about the plant life cycle. Students also fed the animals, explored the playground, and learned how bees pollinate and make honey.
As part of the curriculum, the members of the Junior Class attended the 18th Junior Class Retreat at the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, NC, March 26-28. Coordinated by Mrs. Laura Barr, Mrs. Martha Jo Johnson & Mr. Glen Rector, the retreat provided rising seniors with a “beyond the classroom walls” experience with a focus on loyalty, leadership and legacy. Students stayed in the historic cottages of Kanuga, with each cottage having a faculty member chaperone.
The retreat included group activities, structured discussions, and opportunities for enjoying the facilities of the conference center located in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Activities included a mountain hike and a night hike around Kanuga Lake, as well as team-building games organized by the Mountain Outdoor Trail School.
The retreat opened with a presentation asking “Where Are You Going” which was followed by Mr. Fred Moulton, Head of School, presenting a challenge to the class. Mr. Moulton included a retrospective slideshow entitled “Days of Our Lives” which featured old photos of students and faculty, describing the history of the school.
Mr. Eddie Talley, Assistant Head of School, spoke to the students about leadership and used a scene from the film “Remember the Titans” to illustrate his point. Dr. Milt Lowder ‘90, a licensed counseling psychologist in Greenville, delivered the keynote speech with the topic of “Defining Success.” The Rev. Dr. John Barr’s presentation promoting kindness and encouragement included a personal story reflecting on appreciation. Before students departed, Mr. McCord gave the final presentation to wrap up the retreat.
The students were divided into five activity groups, led by faculty members, to work on a project that culminated in an iMovie presentation. Each group was given the task of identifying traits or characteristics it would like to emulate, then create three to five minute iMovies. In addition to the presentations, students participated in a variety of activities such as an autograph search and “Got Your Back” for which students wrote affirming messages on pieces of paper taped to the backs of classmates. A social hour with snacks and refreshments was held in the lodge the first night, and throughout the retreat there was ample free time for students.
Every member of the Class of 2024 had the opportunity to enjoy the significant benefits of a time set apart for community building and individual character development in a way that will not only benefit each student individually, but continue Wilson Hall’s strong tradition of effective preparation for college and beyond.
Students in the art and theater programs, escorted by their teachers, visited New York City for a fine and performing arts appreciation trip from February 15-19 and stayed in the Hilton Midtown in Manhattan. To learn more about artists, art history and different styles of art, the group visited the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Museum of Modern Art, and The Whitney Museum of American Art. For the experience of live theater, students attended one of the following Broadway shows in the Theater District: Chicago, Lion King, or Wicked. Expanding their theater experience, students and chaperons participated in a private improvisational acting class held at Sunlight Studios in Midtown.
The trip provided the opportunity for students to experience the culture of New York City as they visited Central Park, the Museum of Ice Cream, Times Square, and Rockefeller Center, and shopped and dined in SoHo and Midtown. The group also visited the 9/11 Memorial and the Oculus located at the World Trade Center in Lower Manhattan. Mrs. Tara Schumacher, Art Department Chair, organized the trip and she was assisted in chaperoning by Mr. George Carruth ‘06, theater teacher, and Mrs. Ashley Lareau, Art Department Chair Emeritus.
Planned overnight class trips for the 23-24 school year:
- 5th Grade History Trip, Washington, DC
- 6th Grade Science Trip, Mountain Outdoor Trail School, Hendersonville, NC
- 7th Grade Science & History Trip, Charleston
- 8th Grade History Trip, Washington, DC
- 11th Grade Class Retreat, Kanuga Conference Center, Hendersonville, NC