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O’Neal Ends First Week of School with Convocation

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Southern Pines – The O’Neal School completed its first week of school on Friday with a special convocation attended by the entire student body, faculty and staff. After recitation of the pledge of allegiance, the School’s philosophy and mission statement by students, Head of School John Elmore delivered his convocation speech. He told the students about the summer reading assignment given to faculty and staff: “Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking” by Susan Cain. From the book he noted three passages that he felt were pertinent and offered guidance for the school year ahead.

  • First – “Spend your free time the way you like, not the way you think you’re supposed to.”
  • Second – “The secret to life is to put yourself in the right lighting. For some it’s a Broadway spotlight; for others, a lamp lit desk. Use your natural powers – of persistence, concentration, and insight – to do work you love and work that matters. Solve problems, make art, think deeply.”
  • Third – “there is no one more courageous than the person who speaks with the courage of his convictions.”

convocationTo end the first official week of school, Head of School John Elmore delivers his convocation speech to students, faculty and staff.

Mr. Elmore concluded by welcoming students to the academic year of 2015-2016. Citing Upper School Director Will Rhem’s analogy to Upper School students, he asks, “Think about the year ahead as a blank canvas waiting to be painted and what picture you plan to have painted before the school year ends? What will you learn? How will you be remembered? What will you accomplish? And, how will you grow?”

Continuing to stay on the leading edge of state-of-the art facilities and learning tools for students, O’Neal opened its doors with a new computer lab in Taws Hall Middle School as well as a robotics and innovation center in Bradshaw Hall, a multipurpose facility housing the dining commons, library, art studios and administrative offices.

Launched at O’Neal’s 44th Annual Auction, the “Computing and Innovation” initiative funded by donors in the O’Neal Community allowed for the computer lab and robotics and innovation center to be created. “The goal of the robotics and innovation center is to serve the creative abilities of every student at O’Neal by providing them with the skills, space, and opportunities needed to experiment and innovate,” states Assistant Head of School Jaiwant Mulik.

The computer lab in the Middle School has 20 computers with an interactive projector serving as instructional space for lower and middle school students as well as for research and projects for middle school students in conjunction with their courses of study.

IMG_0727The new computer lab in Taw Hall Middle School houses 20 computers with an interactive projector.

On the global front, O’Neal has eight international students enrolled this year coming from China, Nigeria, and Columbia. They are living with O’Neal faculty members and their families as well as families of other O’Neal students. Exchange visits with middle school students in France will continue this year as well as faculty led trips to Spain, China and England.

Another program planned this year is a new after school program for fourth through sixth grade students introducing them to specific sports offered at O’Neal. Created by Athletic Director James Franklin, the Falcon Development Program will allow participants to get a better grasp of the ABC’s of sports – agility, balance and coordination.

In preparation for the official Science Olympiad regional and state competitions, O’Neal is hosting an invitational tournament on December 12th.  Schools in the area are all invited to participate. Visit the School’s homepage for more information.

With regard to The Arts, O’Neal is hopeful to have a chorus for older students under the direction of the School’s new music teacher, David Lussier. O’Neal continues to have a well-established Lower School Chorus afterschool program.

An independent, college preparatory school for pre-kindergarten age 3 through grade 12, The O’Neal School is dedicated to the development of academic excellence, strength of character, and physical well-being of its students. O’Neal prides itself on having 100% of its graduates receive acceptances to colleges and universities throughout the nation.  The School is currently accepting enrollment applications. For more information, contact Alice Droppers, director of admissions at (910) 692-6920 or go to

LS-Back-to-School Mrs. Cordell’s third grade students (L-R) Gus Ambersley and Chris Walters (Laurinburg) reconnect after summer vacation on O’Neal’s first day of school.

MS-Back-to-School New to the Middle School, sixth grade students fill their lockers. (L-R) Front: Isiah Stefanelli, Alan Gutschmit, Ravi Patel, Kesler Atkinson, Andreas Kakouras Back: George Casey, Max Mixa

US-Back-to-School Sophomores enjoy lunch outside on O’Neal’s first day of school. (L-R) Lizzie Moore (Sanford), Mary McMurray, Cayleigh Ana Kruse, Toyin Koleoso (Sanford), Claire Conti, Riley Meese and Lizzy McClymont.

senior-buddies O’Neal senior Lillian Wu helps Hannah Summers in Mrs. Smith’s first grade class, get settled in for the first day of school. The senior buddies program pairs a senior with O’Neal first and second grade students starting on the first day of school. Throughout the year these “buddies” do different activities together. 




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