Ashley Hall is rich in traditions that preserve and strengthen its core values. These traditions stand to encourage students in their pursuit of excellence, reinforce the importance of honor and integrity, and challenge them to be leaders, independent thinkers, and conscientious citizens.
Big Sister/Little Sister Program In the fall, each girl in grades 6-12 is paired with a "little sister" in K-5. Several events during the year highlight this relationship. Other "sister" associations develop: juniors and seniors, seniors and freshmen, and mentors for new students throughout all grades.
Acanthus (formerly: Cerberus) is Ashley Hall's literary magazine. For over fifty years it has presented prose, poetry, photography and art contributed by students from all divisions within the school.
The Christmas Play, originating from the Nativity cycle of the medieval mystery plays of Chester, England, was first presented in 1924 under the direction of Mary Vardrine McBee, founder of Ashley Hall. Since that time it has been given annually as a Christmas gift to the city. Students, faculty and staff from all school divisions participate in the play.
Since boarding school days, Fathers' Day has been a spring break tradition at Ashley Hall. Students eagerly awaited their fathers who had come to pick them up for the holiday. As guests of their daughters, fathers would spend the morning on campus enjoying the company of students, other fathers and teachers. Today, Fathers' Day is a special day of classroom visits and socializing.
Georgie, the friendly ghost, lives in McBee House and is the special friend of all first graders. Each October first grade students develop a correspondence with Georgie and climb to the top of the spiral stairs in hope of seeing their special friend.
Although all members of the Ashley Hall family are invited, the faculty, staff, and all students in grades 9-12 are required to participate in graduation activities. Students must wear pure white dresses and shoes to the baccalaureate service and to graduation. Baccalaureate services are held in a local church, with graduation exercises on the terrace of the campus. Seniors also wear pure white dresses. In addition to her diploma, the school presents each senior a bouquet of red roses and pin that represents the past and future of each girl.
Holiday Giving Program
This program has been a tradition since 1954 to help remember those in the community less fortunate. Gifts of clothing, toys, or canned goods are presented by each student and faculty member at an assembly before vacation. Local agencies distribute the gifts to families and children in the Lowcountry.
Junior - Senior Activities
The 11th - 12th grade classes have a special relationship. One significant event is held when seniors kidnap juniors for an afternoon of activities during the fall. The junior-senior luncheon is hosted in the spring by the junior class. It is built around a theme with skits and music. During the weekend the seniors host the prom.
Play Day/Field Day Play days, the climax of the sports and team competition, are annual spring afternoons of fun and competition for Intermediate and Upper School. The purple and white teams compete on drill teams, races and land events. Each afternoon ends with an awards ceremony. The Lower School's field day is also held in the spring. The students are divided into cross-grade level groups to compete in outdoor events, followed by a picnic lunch.
Purple and White Teams Beginning in grade 6, each student is a member of one team. If a member of the student's family attended Ashley Hall, she is automatically on that relative's team. New student team members are chosen by lot. The goal of each team is to encourage good sportsmanship, teamwork, loyalty and friendly competition. A student does not contribute to her team solely through athletics; points are accumulated by participation in academic and extracurricular activities as well. The team cup is awarded at the end of the year to the team with the most points.
Shell House Shell House was originally built as an aviary and used as a chemistry lab when the school was established. It is now a retreat for seniors.
Women in Leadership
The annual Women in Leadership programs highlight women in career fields and community activism. It is an intergenerational activity, open to the entire community. Middle and Upper School students attend the presentations, and family members are encouraged to participate.
In Lower and Intermediate Schools, special recognition is given to 4th and 6th graders during closing assemblies. A reception is given in honor of each class as it moves from one school division to the next. An awards program at the end of the school year recognizes academic and extracurricular achievements of girls in grades 7-12. It is a major activity during graduation weekend and is followed by a reception for seniors.