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Field Trips

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. 

Baron Book Club Trips

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 number 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, Head of Lower School, the 1st-4th grades visited Chuck E. Cheese in Columbia, and the 5th grade visited Altitude Trampoline Park, also in Columbia.

7th Grade Travels to Charleston

In conjunction with their history and science classes, the seventh grade students visited Charleston County from May 2-4. Students and chaperons spent two nights on the historic USS Yorktown, a decommissioned aircraft carrier anchored at Patriots Point Naval & Maritime Museum in Mount Pleasant. While onboard they heard stories of heroism and experienced behind the scenes of the World War II aircraft carrier. The students also toured a retired destroyer and a submarine, as well as the Vietnam Experience Exhibit. The group toured Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site and took a boat ride to Fort Sumter National Historic Park in Charleston Harbor. Spending a day on a boat tour with Barrier Island Eco-Tours, students visited Capers Island to learn about botany, ecology and marine biology. They explored tidal creeks of the salt marsh, a maritime forest, a dune field, and a “bone-yard beach.”

Eighth Grade Visits Washington, D.C.

Filling two chartered buses, the eighth grade students and their parents and chaperones departed for the Washington, D.C., area on May 4 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 Library of Congress, National Cathedral, White House, Union Terminal and Washington Monument. They also visited Arlington National Cemetery, where they witnessed a Revolutionary War reenactment, 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 Air & Space, Natural History, and American 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. The group enjoyed game nights at the hotel and some went to a Washington Nationals baseball game. 

Art Students Visit Festival

Nearly 40 students and their art teachers traveled to Lake City for the annual ArtFields, one of the south’s premier art competitions and festivals. The artwork of 11 students was accepted for ArtFields Jr., an art competition open to students throughout South Carolina. The selection process was extremely competitive with more than 800 submissions from across the state. These students and their teachers received recognition at the festival.

3rd Grade Visits Lee State Park

In conjunction with their science unit and standards, third grade students traveled to Lee State Park to extend their learning of fossils. They visited the artesian wells located on site and collected sediment brought to the surface to observe under a microscope with the help of Ranger Laura. Students also did their own leaf rubbing, simulating carbon film fossils.

Kindergarten Book Club Picnic

To celebrate achieving their reading goals, kindergarten students enjoyed a Book Club Picnic at Palmetto Park. The students read 20 books to one another during March and April.

Kindergarten Visits Farm

Kindergarten students visited Dorr Farms in Gable where they picked strawberries, learned about the life of bees and how they contribute to the farm, played on the playground, and fed the farm animals. 

Junior Class Retreat

As part of the curriculum, the members of the Class of ‘25 attended the 19th Junior Class Retreat at the Kanuga Conference Center in Hendersonville, North Carolina, March 24-26 Coordinated by Mrs. Laura Barr, Mrs. Martha Jo Smith Johnson ‘99 and Mr. Glen Rector, the retreat provided rising seniors with a “beyond the classroom walls” experience with a focus on loyalty, leadership and legacy.

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 led by Mr. Chuck McCord and a night hike around Kanuga Lake led by Mr. Lee Gandy, as well as team-building games organized by the Mountain Outdoor Trail School. Each morning began with a devotion and prayer led by Mr. Gandy.

Mr. Rector opened the retreat with a presentation asking “Where Are You Going” which was followed by Mr. Brent Kaneft ‘00, Head of School, presenting a challenge to the class. Mr. Kaneft 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 on the topic of “Defining Success.” 

Mr. Brent Kaneft ‘00, Associate Head of School, spoke to the students about freedom and the responsibility of freedom.  Before students had lunch before departing, Mr. McCord gave the final presentation about the class’s legacy in the inn’s fireplace lounge.
The students were divided into five activity groups, led by faculty members, to work on a project that culminated in an iMovie presentation. Organized by Mrs. Molly McDuffie, each group was given the task of identifying traits or characteristics it would like to emulate, then creating three to five minute iMovies. 

In addition to the presentations, students participated in a variety of activities such as an autograph search, improvisational acting group activities led by Mr. George Carruth ‘06, and “Got Your Back” in 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. 

Students stayed in the historic cottages of Kanuga, with each cottage having a faculty member chaperone. In addition to the faculty members previously mentioned, also chaperoning the trip were Mr. Sean Hoskins, Mrs. Molly Simpson Matthews ‘93, Mrs. Sarah Smith and Mr. Sam Watford ‘16.  

Every member of the Class of 2025 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.

3rd Grade Tours State House

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. 

4th Grade Colonial Day at Sumter County Museum

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. 

6th Grade Visits Mountains

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. 

3rd Grade Visits Sumter County Museum

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. 

Fifth Grade Visits Washington, D.C.

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. 

Senior Class Retreat

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.

France Trip

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. 

Italy Trip

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.