The Purple & White | Stories from Ashley Hall's Campus | Ashley Hall

October | 2023

Stories and photos from Ashley Hall’s campus that highlight what students and faculty are achieving each month together.

Celebrating Halloween 2023, Ashley Hall Style

Hosted by our Parent Volunteer Committee, the annual Ashley Hall Halloween Carnival has long been one of the most anticipated events of the year. This October, it was bigger than ever. 

On Friday, October 27, students, families, and community members flooded campus for karaoke, ice cream, and plenty of camaraderie dressed in their best Halloween costumes. Among the crowd were Smurfs, plenty of Barbies and Taylor Swifts, and four very distinguished Founding Fathers represented by the Class of 2025 who took first place in the Upper School costume contest. 

But everyone’s favorite part of the Ashley Hall Halloween Carnival? Well, that’s best left up to our community members themselves who shared their thoughts here!

2023 Ashley Hall Halloween Carnival By the Numbers:  

  • Number of Mystery Treat Bags donated: 1,152
  • Number of parent volunteers: 41
  • Number of raffle tickets sold: 307
  • Number of bags of popcorn sold at the Goblin Cafe: 198


Early Schoolers Get Involved in Giving Back

After last month’s school-wide Food Drive which took place the week of October 9-13, every corner of campus was filled with boxes of canned and boxed food items – and you better believe our curious Early School students took note!

Hearing their questions about why we bring food to school, primary teacher Amy Kuenzel held classroom conversations to explain the importance of giving back and spreading joy in our community, a theme that tends to naturally come up every holiday season when Ashley Hall overflows with food and gift donations alike. The logical next question? “When are we taking the food to the people?” asked primary student Emiliano Kim ’38.

Inspired by their student’s curiosity, primary teachers planned a series of field trips to the Ashley Hall Blessing Box, the School’s go-to spot for giving back year round. Located just a few blocks from campus at FUEL restaurant, our Blessing Box houses donations of non-perishable food items and basic toiletries for people who find themselves in need. Led by their teachers and family volunteers, primary students walked hand-in-hand down Rutledge Avenue toting wagons full of food donations to fill the box and take part in giving back as Ashley Hall community members.

GET INVOLVED | Want to help stock the Ashley Hall Blessing Box? All families are invited to bring in food donations any day of the year or stop by the box and fill it on their own! Read more about Ashley Hall’s work with Lowcountry Blessing Box


Kindergarteners March in We Are Readers Parade

Last month, Ashley Hall kindergarteners celebrated an important milestone — reaching the end of their first reading unit! On this exciting day, students donned special crowns and carried their favorite books during Pardue Hall’s annual We Are Readers parade.

“This was the first time we invited parents to join us for the parade and then stay to share and read a book together,” says kindergarten teacher Mia Smith. “We also had it outside for the first time allowing us to share with everyone on campus!”This year, the We Are Readers parade was also a perfect culmination to the end of kindergarten’s “All About Us” Transdisciplinary Unit of Study, Smith explains. During this 6-week grade-wide unit, students studied the origins of their names, individual traits, what it means to be a classmate, and who we are as Ashley Hall students. “Becoming a reader is one way that makes us who we are as an individual, and that was a central idea of that unit – who we are as individuals.”

DID YOU KNOW? | Kindergarten’s “All About Us” Interdisciplinary Unit of Study is a part of the International Baccalaureate (IB) Primary Years Programme. Ashley Hall’s Lower School is currently an IB candidate, and teachers have been busy implementing exciting new ways to learn. Read about the journey to becoming an IB school here, and stay tuned for more on Pardue Hall’s exciting new Primary Years Programme.


Third-Graders Make a Fashion Statement in French

Every August, Susannah Elliott’s French students dive back into class with a lesson to refresh their memories. “It’s really important to re-teach words they have seen before, but you have to do it in new ways so it doesn’t get boring,” Elliott says.

To get back in the groove this year, her third grade students listened to a French song about writing messages. This led to a conversation about the messages we send to the world about ourselves, like when you write things on T-shirts — and a new project was born! After looking at French clothing websites and noticing how many shirts there were with English words on them, students set out to create their own in French.

The girls starting by choosing the messages they wanted to send. “They had to be able to say their words and know what they mean,” Elliott says. Then they picked the letters they needed for each word and fun decals. “We even had our very own [Art Director] Kate Daughtry talk to them about graphic design before they put together their shirts.”

On Thursday, October 19, students showed off their creations for the whole school with the aim of practicing their vocabulary along the way. “Since we didn’t have an assembly, I sent an email out to help people interact with them,” Elliott says. “That actually worked out better because so many people asked about their shirts all day!”


Nautilus Students Hit the Water with World Ocean School

On Wednesday, October 18, Ashley Hall eighth graders swapped their uniforms for baseball hats and leggings to spend the day on Charleston Harbor. During the day-long educational field trip hosted by World Ocean School, a non-profit specializing in providing educational sailing experiences, the grade was split in half to participate in two unique experiences: a sail aboard the Denis Sullivan, a replica of a three-masted Great Lakes schooner, and team-building activities in Gadsdenboro Park.

The framework of both experiences was exploring the four values of the World Ocean School: communication, teamwork, trust, and self-worth. While on the water, students learned the parts of a tall ship, then got a hands-on lesson in “hauling together” to raise its sails. They also learned that every job on a sailboat, no matter how small, is important to keep a ship functioning at sea. Check out photos of the experience!

The sail was a sampling of Ashley Hall’s larger Offshore Leadership Program in which students in grades 9-12 get the opportunity to crew a tall ship for a week at sea. Current eighth graders will be invited to apply to the program at the start of their freshmen year.

LEARN MORE | Now in its sixteenth year, the Offshore Leadership Program is focused on building leadership skills and a deep love for our maritime surroundings in Charleston. The signature program is also going through a few exciting transitions which you can read more about here.


P.E. Students Hit the Mark During Fall Archery Unit

At the end of September, P.E. students in grades 5-8 set out to sharpen a brand new set of skills – using a sharpened set of arrows – during a 4-week lesson in archery. The aim? (Pun intended.) “To learn the fundamentals of a new sport, and hopefully build interest to start a pipeline for our high school team,” says Assistant Athletics Director Christian Alcantara who coached the unit this year. From safety to competition, here’s a snapshot of the archery unit students took part in last month:

Week 1 | Safety

“First and foremost is always safety,” says Alcantara, who earned his USA Archery Level 1 Instructor Certification under the guidance of Ashley Hall archery coach and competitive archer Anna Ruggiero. “The beginning is all about making sure that they know how to keep themselves and everybody around them safe.”

Weeks 2-3 | Operation 

“Second is making sure that they understand the technique of holding a bow and loading an arrow because it’s not something we tend to do often,” Alcantara says. “We talk about grip, stance, and the different movements archery involves. Even talking about the different muscles that they’re using is important because these are new skills and techniques that most of them have never done.”

Weeks 4 | Tactical Skills 

“Lastly, we get into the tactical part of it of how to aim and how to adjust from each shot that they fire,” Alcantara says. “It’s all about the hand-eye coordination and learning from their experience practicing.” The unit culminates in a tournament to test their skills!


Tackling Food Waste at Ashley Hall, One Lunch At a Time

When researching the effects of food waste as a part of this year’s global education theme centered on ending hunger, Intermediate Program students made a shocking discovery: It’s possible for 90 Ashley Hall fifth and sixth graders to waste up to 10 pounds of food each lunch period. Now, they’ve set out to make a difference on food scarcity in the Charleston community, starting in our very own Dining Commons.

“To keep track every day at lunch of how much food gets wasted, we put out one bucket for fifth grade and one for sixth grade, and then we dump our leftover food in there,” explains Giselle Sheard ’31. Then two designated members from each grade weigh their bucket and record how many pounds of scraps they accumulated with the aim of getting it lower and lower each week. The goal? Under 5 lbs of waste per day, and they are getting there by developing new smart tactics.

“For example, the other day, I filled half my plate with mac and cheese and half with pork,” Sheard says. “I was thinking about getting soup, but I wanted to make sure I ate what I had first. After I finished eating, I was full so I wouldn’t have been able to eat soup. You just [have to] get small portions. You can always get more, but you can’t get less.” Sharing is also important, says Sheard. “We used to see people take one bite of an apple then throw it away,” she says. “But you can cut your apple in half and share. Or you can split your breadstick or even a sandwich to be sure you don’t waste.”

The Intermediate Program food waste project, led by STEAM teacher Kiki Sweigart, was inspired by the fifth-grade camping trip to Green River Preserve in September. There, students got a hand-on lesson on organic reusable trash, or ORT, by collecting the leftover food after meals in similar buckets so that it could be composted. Now back on campus, composting is the next step, says Sweigart.

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Ashley Hall is a K-12 independent school for girls, with a co-ed preschool, committed to a talented and diverse student population. We consider for admission students of any race, color, religion, and national or ethnic origin.