Ashley Hall is thrilled to announce that it will host youth sports for the first time in the School’s history for the 2022-23 school year. The new CUBS program will expand the Athletic Department’s sports offerings to students in grades pre-kindergarten through fourth who would like to participate in practices after school, and its designed to teach fundamental skills and PQV spirit to future Panther athletes.
“It’s so important for kids to explore athletics at a young age,” says Ashley Hall Assistant Athletic Director Christian Alcantara. “I can think of no better way than to provide them the option to try new sports in a fun, supportive environment that mirrors our EEC and Lower School programs.”
The program will kick off with volleyball, tennis, and soccer. The spring semester will offer basketball, lacrosse, and golf. Each semester will offer two 6-week sessions, and programming will include one lesson each week organized by grade level. All practices will start 15 minutes after school dismissal and take place on Ashley Hall’s campus. Program fees vary based on the sport.
“Our coaches coming in are all professionals and everything for our Panther CUBS will be held on campus,” Alcantara says. “The ease of having the program right there for our students will hopefully also make it easier for our parents. It’s going to be a wonderful extension of our School and mission.”
The exciting addition of youth sports at Ashley Hall comes on the heels of a 2021-22 school year that saw State Championship wins, Johns Island Sports Complex facility upgrades, and Nike brand partnership news. “We’ve been busy elevating Ashley Hall’s athletic program offerings to the next level,” Alcantara says. “And the momentum continues.”
A cherished, longstanding Ashley Hall tradition, The Christmas Play assumed a digital format for its 2020 production in response to pandemic safety concerns. Against the backdrop of new technology, creative staging, and the need for the cast to socially distance, one thing remained clear: the love for this shared generational experience runs deep.
“This year we reimagined The Christmas Play in order to adhere to public health and safety protocols, and the spirit of this Ashley Hall tradition came to life in an entirely new way. Filmed outdoors on campus, the play allowed us to take full advantage of our cherished Senior Lawn as well as the Bear Cave, which served as the perfect backdrop for the Holy Tableaux.” —Head of School Jill Muti
Ask any alumna to name her favorite Ashley Hall memories, and The Christmas Play makes the list more often than not. Now in its 97th year, the annual performance is nearly as old as the School itself and draws together generations of graduates who relish memories of assuming roles of angels, shepherds, and jesters, reciting time-worn lines, and singing a repertoire that embodies the holiday season.
“The fact that you can reconnect so well with your Ashley Hall experience through watching the play makes it so special,” said Assistant Head of School and Upper School Director Anne Weston ’73, who treasures many fond memories of watching and performing in the play. “This year we worked hard to preserve the tradition of The Christmas Play in the face of challenging conditions.”
Historically, the logistics of The Christmas Play have adapted through the years to allow for location changes and staging demands, and the digital version represents the latest of these transformations. While the medium of delivery may change, it is reassuring to know the essence of this beloved tradition remains very much the same.
Another special Ashley Hall tradition is the sending of alumnae “telegrams.” Each year, alumnae cast members of The Christmas Play share warm wishes with members of the current cast. Filled with fun memories and loving support, these “telegrams” offer a glimpse into the special bond our alumnae have to their School and each other. Happy reading!
As leaders in Pardue Hall, fourth graders take their responsibilities seriously. In prior years they traditionally ran the weekly Lower School Assembly and took turns planning and presenting the content. However, with assemblies on campus suspended for safety precautions, a new medium of communication was needed. “We felt that it was important to find a way to continue this practice of leadership for our students,” said Lower School faculty member Kendall Lee, who teaches fourth grade along with Lower School faculty member Allie Jordan. “Having gotten used to using a lot of different media platforms, it was relatively easy to make the jump to filming a weekly news show that we could disseminate to the rest of the Lower School. Each week, two fourth grade girls interview an Ashley Hall staff member, report the weekend weather, make special announcements, acknowledge birthdays, report on pop tab collections, and note any other additions contributed from outside sources.”
The content is fun and engaging, and fourth graders are eager to help the Lower School stay connected. “It’s nice to be able to practice, rather than being live in front of the entire Lower School,” said Claire Khan ’29. Filming locations have included the Collab Lab and the Bear Cave, and Performing Arts faculty member Kristine Peters pitches in with formatting each week’s presentation. “I like the extras that Ms. Peters has added in, like the clapping and the singing in the background,” said Virginia Hagood ’29. For Sadie Winters ’29, the joke of the week is her favorite, “even though they’re kind of silly.” While fourth graders miss the big assemblies of the past, they still appreciate the chance to fulfill their important leadership roles and learn something new. “It’s disappointing that we can’t do it live in Davies Auditorium, but it’s fun getting to film, especially in different locations,” smiled Camille Marler ’29 and Pippa Taylor ’29. That sounds like the making of a good morning.
Experiential learning is a core part of Ashley Hall’s curriculum, and first graders tend a garden each year to enhance their study of a plant’s life cycle and what it needs to survive. While past efforts have yielded little because of shady growing conditions, this year Lower School faculty member Beth McCarty had a bright idea. For her students, success never tasted so sweet!
“This year we are trying rolling raised beds so we can move the plants to an optimal growing area with the right amount of sunlight,” noted McCarty. “A hands-on garden shows the students where their food comes from and how much time and energy goes into each bite of food they take! Now when students go to the grocery stores, they know how these fruits and vegetables got to the shelves. Hopefully it also encourages students to be less wasteful when eating meals.”
Having already planted strawberries, kale, broccoli, chives, lemon thyme, dill, basil, lima beans, and of course purple and white pansies, students eagerly anticipate eating from the garden year-round and changing the crops with the seasons. “They were all very excited about the strawberries,” emphasized McCarty. “One plant already has two strawberries and one flower about to become a strawberry. It is great for them to see the plant life cycle in action and then of course eat the end result!”
Early Education Center (EEC) and younger Lower School students have a new way to highlight their adventures and achievements this year! An online learning platform that documents learning experiences in dynamic ways, Seesaw gives both teachers and students options to showcase important lessons, explorations, and milestones. “The EEC has been looking for a new platform to easily capture and share students’ work with their families, and we are thrilled to introduce Seesaw, which has already proven to be a wonderful addition to our classes,” said EEC faculty member Batey Self. “Teachers are able to easily upload photos and student work, and families can instantly respond and give feedback. Recently, I captured a student writing his name for the first time at school and was able to quickly share that moment with his family. They responded with such joy that it warmed my heart that we were all connected in this milestone. We love sharing what their children are doing throughout the day and how happy they are to be at school.”
For students in kindergarten through second grade, Seesaw is proving to be an effective tool for both expression and self-direction. Logging into the platform, students take the initiative to complete assignments and document their own discoveries to share with their homeroom and connection teachers as well as their fellow classmates. “Seesaw creates a digital portfolio of each student’s work, which allows us to understand strengths and target areas for growth,” noted Lower School faculty member Lee Tamblyn. “Our girls have been doing a variety of activities, including recording their voice as they read a part of a book to us, reading sight words, counting coins, filling in missing numbers on number lines, and drawing their favorite reading spot in their homes. Most of our lessons have included an opportunity for them to explore the tools they can use—drawing, text boxes, highlighting, and more.” By encouraging both critical thinking and class engagement, Seesaw is helping students find the perfect balance for a new school year.
Don’t Miss this FUN Family Event for the Early Education Center and Lower School (Pre-Primary through Grade 6).It’s the perfect chance to meet other Early Education Center and Lower School families!
Wednesday, October 2
5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.
Tickets: $5 per person. Students must be accompanied by an adult.
Menu includes burger and chicken sliders, mac and cheese, baked beans, potato chips, sliced apples and oranges. Desserts provided by parents.
Please enter through the Smith Street Gate and provide your last name. Limited parking will be available in the Smith and Ogier Street (22 Ogier Street) parking lots. If you have any questions, please contact Stephanie Glasscock, Director of the Loyalty Fund and Parent Engagement at [email protected].