Inquiry-based learning teaches children that their questions and interests are valued. Students help script and perform wonderful class plays, such as the memorable third grade Salute to South Carolina, to showcase their learning.
Through the Christian education program, all Lower School children participate in such activities as the Road to Bethlehem and the Blessing of the Animals, experiences that allow them to celebrate faith and service in joyful, active, age-appropriate ways. These events not only mark the liturgical calendar, they also help children learn to serve others.
Events such as Special Friends Day and the annual Lower School Art Show are anticipated with excitement. These occasion brings family members and friends to the Lower School to share the students’ experience and pride in their accomplishments.
Many Middle School traditions derive from the Beyond-the-Campus educational program that involves students in outdoor challenges and experiences. These include a fifth-grade outdoor experience early in the school year, when students get to know each other and their teachers in an environment filled with engaging activities designed to promote team-building and leadership.
The three-day exploration of Barrier Island enjoyed by sixth-graders is an opportunity to augment their classroom studies of the coastal environment. In Grade 7 the students’ trip to Colonial Williamsburg brings their social studies lessons to life, and the Grade 8 trip to Disney’s EPCOT and the Magic Kingdom offers an exploration of physics and geography in a trip that is both exciting and instructive.
These carefully planned programs are, appropriately for this age group, experiential, and they help reinforce socialization and team-building skills, critical components of a well-rounded middle school education.
In the Upper School, academic traditions, such as the freshman Bug Collection Project, the Tenth Grade Sophomore Project, and the Extended Essay or Senior Thesis, create many unforgettable memories that classmates savor throughout the years.
But there are also many fun traditions, such as Homecoming, providing a welcome counterbalance to the academic demands of the school year. The Ninth Grade Mystery Trip bonds freshmen together during their first week of school by whisking them off for two days to a destination so secret that even their parents are not told exactly where they’re going until after the buses leave! Past classes have shared excursions to Key West, New York City, and the Outer Banks in North Carolina, where students literally soared through the air on a hang-gliding adventure.
Chapel traditions, such as the annual Epiphany Scholar Chapel and the Fine Arts Chapel celebrate student achievement in the context of glorifying God. These beautiful services are much anticipated and are enhanced by an element of surprise made sweeter by the fact that the parents of the award winners must keep the secret until the honors are announced in chapel.
Senior Week, the week leading up to graduation, involves students in a well-choreographed series of activities, including Senior Service Day. Following Senior Chapel, a bagpiper leads the seniors in a triumphal procession around campus, where students and faculty are lined up to applaud them. The procession culminates in a reception for the students and their families.
The morning of Commencement there’s the beloved Senior Breakfast. A favorite highlight of the school calendar, the Senior Breakfast gives Upper School faculty and staff one last chance to serve up some humor and heartfelt advice to the graduating class along with orange juice and breakfast casseroles. Then there are the elegant Commencement ceremonies, characterized by the uncle of one recent graduate as “the most beautiful graduation services I’ve ever seen.”