Heathwood Hall Episcopal School, Heathwood Hall, or simply Heathwood is an independent coeducational college preparatory school in Columbia, South Carolina. Founded in 1951, Heathwood offers small classes for students in pre-kindergarten/nursery school through grade 12, and is the only independent school in the state with three National Blue Ribbon School awards from the US Department of Education. For the 2006-2007 school year, Heathwood had 885 students enrolled and graduating classes typically number between 55 and 75 students each year. All graduates are accepted to college and recent alumni are attending such institutions as Yale University, Harvard University, Emory University, Duke University, University of Notre Dame, Dartmouth College, Northwestern University, and Princeton University. Heathwood is also the choice of South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, for his children.
Heathwood was chartered in 1951 by the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina, opening its doors to 98 students at the original campus on Heathwood Circle. With Susan Gibbes Robinson as headmistress, the school held classes for kindergarten through fourth grade. The board of directors affirmed a policy of non-discrimination from the beginning, establishing at the outset Heathwood's leadership on equality in education.
In 1953, two additional grade levels, 5th and 6th, were added, allowing enrollment to surpass 200.
The school remained on its relatively small downtown campus until 1974, when headmaster Earl Devanny guided the school through a period of growth and relocation from its downtown campus to its present site: a tract of land in southeast Columbia donated by Burwell D. Manning, Jr. The school's first major capital campaign raised $1 million for construction of classrooms, gymnasium and a new high school. Heathwood Hall graduated its first high school class in 1977.
Governance and Classification
Heathwood Hall Episcopal School is a 501(c)(3)
not-for-profit organization as defined by the IRS
. It is governed by a voluntary Board of Trustees.
The Heathwood Hall Highlanders are members of the South Carolina Independent School Association (SCISA) league, which provides students in grades 6–12 the opportunity to compete in a broad range of sports. Heathwood is a Class 3A school, the largest classification in SCISA's rankings. The athletic program is designed to encourage physical fitness, teamwork, excellence and sportsmanship. Heathwood's varsity football team, currently led by Head Coach Rip Blackstone, won state championships in 1986, 2001 and 2004. The girls' and boys' track teams won state championships respectively in 2005 and 2006. The boys' lacrosse team won state runner-up honors in 2006. In 2007, the women's golf team won their first state championship. NFL
player Michael Boulware
of the Minnesota Vikings
, attended Heathwood along with his brother Peter Boulware
, formerly of the Baltimore Ravens
Lower School (grades 1-4)
All Lower School students participate in music and visual art classes. The second- and fourth-grade students explore drama through play productions. Students have many opportunities to share their artistic expressions with the Heathwood community. These include choral performances (such as the Festival of Lessons and Carols), Grandparents’ Day presentations and the annual publication of Creations, a literary magazine featuring students' creative writing and visual art. Students in grades one through four may also participate in the popular digging up of indian burial grounds and productive after school Art Club.
Intermediate/Middle School (grades 5-8)
Fifth and sixth grade students study band and chorus for the entire academic year. Seventh and eighth-grade students study band or chorus for the entire academic year. Students explore visual art and drama classes for a full semester, and all humanities classes include an integrated visual art project. Visual art works are entered in competition at the SC State Fair and other art shows. Band members compete at regional and state levels. IS/MS students share their creative work with the Heathwood Hall community through band and choral concerts, visual art displays and extracurricular drama productions such as Schoolhouse Rock!
, Jr., and You're a Good Man, Charlie Brown
Upper School (grades 9-12)
Upper School students may take classes in acting, play production, visual art, photography, band and chorus. In addition, a variety of co- and extracurricular opportunities are offered for US students interested in the Fine Arts. These include band concerts and two or more play productions each year. Previous all-school productions have included Godspell
and The Music Man
, Jr. Additionally, the upper school has recently put on productions of Grease
: School Version, Pride and Prejudice
and Leader of the Pack
, Seussical, Jr.
and will soon be producing Annie Jr.
. Visual art works are entered in competition at the SC State Fair and other art shows. Band members compete at regional and state levels. Students who exhibit dedication to theatre through earning points for their work may be inducted into Heathwood Hall’s chapter of the International Thespian Society
, an honor society for theatre. Drama participants also represent the school at various festivals and competitions. Among other honors in 2003, the Heathwood Players were awarded First Place in the region at the SCISA one-act play event.