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Class of '95 Reunion a Big Success

News Type:  All School Alumni Date:  Thursday, September 22, 2016 Byline:  Stacy Sox Gross '95

The Heathwood Class of 1995 had an absolutely fabulous reunion weekend in September! We began with a Friday afternoon/evening informal Happy Hour gathering at Tazza in Trenholm Plaza. We had between 15-20 people attend.

The next morning, we invited all of the families to come out and participate in thePEAK courses, led by Stan Wood and Brice Spires (’09). About 8-10 families were represented on that morning, and I also took some folks on a quick tour around campus to see all of the changes that had taken place since they were last here. The Plaid Peddler staff were also kind enough to come in and open the bookstore for an hour on Saturday morning so people could purchase Highlander attire. We were extremely grateful for that opportunity as well.

The “big event” kicked off at the home of Chris Alessandrini Carrington in King’s Grant. We had the most fun! Our classmates came into town from Charleston, Rock Hill, Charlotte, Georgia, Connecticut, Florida, and California!

There were some people who hadn’t been seen or heard from since we graduated. Throughout the night, we all talked about what an amazing experience we had at Heathwood and the influence that our Heathwood education has had on all of us throughout our lives. Of course, we couldn’t end the night without a toast to Mr. Gasque. We had somewhere between 40 and 45 people in attendance.

We are already planning a Christmas get-together because we can’t let another 5 years pass before we do this again. And we encourage other classes to do the same, because it was so great to catch up with so many classmates all at once.

If you want to plan a reunion for your class and need help tracking down contact information etc., Alumni Relations Coordinator Meredith Walker can help. You can reach her at or 803-321-7730. 

Alumni Profile: Alumni Board Representative Peyton Bryant, 06: Speaking from experience"

News Type:  All School Alumni Date:  Monday, August 22, 2016

Heathwood lifer Peyton Bryant, ’06, has just begun his tenure as the alumni representative on Heathwood’s Board of Trustees. In that role he is the voice for all Heathwood alumni.  His goals include building a stronger alumni network and facilitating deeper connections between alumni and the school.

After graduating from Heathwood in 2006, Peyton attended Wake Forest University, where he majored in economics and minored in religion and entrepreneurship. After graduation, he returned to Columbia, beginning his career as a commercial relationship manager for BB&T.  Currently, he serves as a commercial real estate broker for NAI Avant and focuses his business on office sales and leasing and investment sales.

A 2014 graduate of Leadership Columbia, Peyton serves on the boards of the Babcock Center Foundation, the Midlands Housing Trust Fund, and the Leadership Columbia Alumni Association.  He also serves as Chair-Elect of the United Way of the Midlands’ Young Leaders Society and Immediate Past President of the Columbia Lions Club, and is an active member of Eastminster Presbyterian Church.

Peyton holds the distinction of being Heathwood’s second “graduate of a graduate.” His mother, Sharon Walters Bryant, graduated in 1979. His sister Paige, also a lifer, graduated in 2014 and currently attends USC.

—What was your most memorable Heathwood experience?

I was a student at Heathwood for 14 years and have tons of memories to choose from. However, I would say my commencement ceremony in 2006 is the most memorable.  I sat beside Wills Bryan (Barbara’s son), who is also a Heathwood lifer.  It seemed the reality of the occasion hit us both at the same time as we walked out of the church after receiving our diplomas.  I remember feeling overwhelmed by the traditions of Heathwood and grateful for the relationships I had built through my time at the school.  You can’t get much more traditional than our commencement service.  Sitting in the audience during my sister’s graduation in 2014 and hearing the bagpipes took me right back to the feelings I experienced in 2006 and remain fond memories to this day. 

—What Heathwood teacher made the biggest impression on you? And how do you feel your Heathwood experience prepared you for college and/or your career?

Heathwood’s all-time most impression-making teacher is James H. Gasque in Room 17.  However, I have to give credit to someone still teaching at Heathwood, Nadege Keller, the Upper School French teacher, as the person who made a lasting impression on me as a student at Heathwood.  Although I remember very little French now, and nothing about the French language has earned me a dime as an adult, Mrs. Keller (which isn’t nearly as intimidating as her then-maiden name Nadege Vauthier) was very tough on us.  We were not allowed to speak a lick of English in her class.  It was all French, all the time.  She wasn’t simply a tough teacher; she truly cared and she wanted us to succeed.  She taught us the value of working hard at something even when it seemed too difficult to master.  As a result, I was more prepared to take French Grammar class at Wake Forest than any of my peers.  I breezed through it all thanks to Mrs. Keller.

With respect to how my Heathwood experience prepared me for college and my career, generally speaking, I would say Heathwood helped me understand the value of community.  There is a place for individualism, competition, and self-reflection.  However, when members of a community support one another, the community as a whole functions much better and certainly Heathwood facilitated a community among its students, faculty, and administrators.  I’ve tried to apply this same community-minded approach to the organizations and activities I have been involved in as an adult. 

—What’s the most interesting thing you’ve done since leaving Heathwood?

Thanks to Stan Wood and the PEAK program, I became very interested in outdoor education and took that passion with me after graduating from Heathwood.  In college, I took a sea kayaking and backpacking trip through Costa Rica and it was probably one of the most interesting things I’ve done. 

—What do you think your Heathwood classmates would be most surprised to learn about you?

My jokes were much better received in college than in high school.  Heck, I was even “cool” at times, and I haven’t worn a kilt since Heathwood Homecoming senior year. 

—Why has it felt worthwhile to you to stay connected to Heathwood after you graduated?

Heathwood played a significant role in my childhood, so staying connected even after graduation was a no-brainer for me.  It was also helpful that I moved back to Columbia after college and had a sister still enrolled at the time.  Once Paige graduated, my good friend Meredith Walker started working in development at Heathwood, which made it easy for me to stay engaged and aware of what was happening at the school.

Although it has been easy for me to stay connected to Heathwood, maintaining relationships has always been important to me.  Regardless of where I am or who I know amongst the staff, I will always want to see Heathwood prosper.  I want to know that the students now are being challenged, motivated, and inspired in the same way I was as a student.  

—What excites you most about serving as the alumni representative on the Board?

As I get to know some of the other Board members, I recognize that each of them brings something valuable and unique to the table.  Collectively, the Board is an awesome group of very accomplished people.  I am humbled to have been included within the Board’s ranks this year.

As an alumni representative on the Board, it is important to me that the other Board members realize the importance of alumni outreach.  Heathwood’s alumni efforts have been minimal in the past, but that is changing.  I am excited to help the Board understand the value in allocating school resources and time to building a strong and active alumni network.  The benefits will be extraordinary in the long run. 

—How does it help both alumni and the school and its current students when alumni are connected to Heathwood?

Wouldn’t you agree that when folks “speak from experience,” it’s often the most powerful review of a product, place, or experience?  Well, alumni of Heathwood can, themselves, speak from experience in order to promote Heathwood to the broader Columbia community.  It only makes sense that the more supported, engaged, and included the alumni feel, the more advocating they will do on Heathwood’s behalf.  Also, as the alumni network grows and remains connected to Heathwood, they will, in turn, provide a resource for current students to build their own networks and call upon when searching for “Winterim” internships, applying to colleges, and looking for careers. 

—How are you, as the board representative, available to support alumni?

Our alumni network isn’t very large, relatively speaking.  If alumni want to know what’s going on at Heathwood or have a comment, question, concern, or even better, an idea, I would welcome a conversation anytime.  The school can provide my contact information to anyone who needs it.  Otherwise, I hope alumni know I am advocating on their behalf during my board term.

—How can all alumni help support the school?

 We need alumni support.  We encourage alumni to be as active as possible, whether through hands-on efforts or advocating from afar.  Meredith Walker, Erin Pope, and the rest of the Heathwood development staff are working very hard to help grow the alumni network, but it takes effort from all of us to make sure that the network is meaningful and worthwhile. 

A'ja Wilson Leads Team USA To FIBA U19 World Championship, Earns Tournament MVP

News Type:  All School Alumni Athletics Date:  Sunday, July 26, 2015 Byline:  Wilson collects 30 points in the title match

2014 alum A’ja Wilson and Team USA captured their sixth consecutive FIBA U19 World Championship after their 78-70 victory in the title game over host nation, Russia.  

The Americans (7-0) dominated throughout the tournament, before a close match in the championship final as the Russians (6-1) stormed out to early leads throughout the first half.  However, as the Highlander faithful can attest, it’s only a matter of time before A’ja dominates in a big game!

Wilson collected 30 points (a USA Basketball championship record), 8 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 steals, and a blocked shot, as she powered the Americans to an 8-point victory.  Finishing the tournament averaging 22.3 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.3 assists over the seven games, A’ja was named the tournament her second U19 World Championship appearance.  

The rising South Carolina sophomore and Team USA U19 Coach Dawn Staley will look to lead the Lady Gamecocks to consecutive Final Four appearances this winter - Congratulations A’ja!

Alumni Profile: Thad Moore--America's Most Famous Intern

News Type:  Alumni Date:  Friday, September 18, 2015

Thad Moore (’11) just graduated from college but already holds the distinction of being one of the most famous journalists in the country. Or at least, the most famous journalism intern in the country.  

Thad was a month into an internship on the business desk at the Washington Post this summer when a software glitch caused the computers to go down on the New York Stock Exchange. Through a combination of journalistic instinct and luck, Thad was the first reporter at a major news outlet to break the story.

The computers were back up fairly quickly, and, except in business circles, the story ended up being less significant than it initially appeared. But Moore himself—the intrepid intern who scooped the likes of the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times—became a media sensation.  In a story that took off like wildfire in the socialmediasphere, Buzzfeed gleefully recounted the details of Thad’s scoop and gushed “He’s now the newshound we all turn to in times of crisis.”

Buzzfeed also noted that Thad handled the whole hoopla with grace and humility. But to Thad himself, “It was nuts. I felt like I stopped being a person and started being an idea for a little while.” His editor at the Post suggested his story was so compelling in part because the photo on his Twitter feed looked like a stock photo of an intern, making him the perfect hero for a triumph-of-the-little-guy tale.

“People at the Post were really into it as an intern-made-good story,” he says. “I was a name around the office for a while, which was the coolest thing ever, because it’s the Washington Post.”

Even if he hadn’t become a media sensation, Thad says his internship still would have been a great experience. “When you intern at the Post, they pretty much treat you like you’re on staff. I was working on stories every day and got my byline in the paper a lot. It was great to see how a big national paper covers the news and to be in the middle of all that. It was great just to walk through the door every day. The history that’s in that building makes being there really cool.”

Thad’s interest in a career in journalism began at Heathwood, and, he says, he realized once he began his studies at the University of South Carolina’s Honors College that his Heathwood education had prepared him well for a writing-intensive vocation: “There was such an emphasis on writing at Heathwood. That’s fairly unique. It really takes a small-classroom environment and very dedicated teachers to provide good writing instruction.”

For current students who have journalistic aspirations of any kind, Thad’s advice is, “start writing. Find freelance opportunities, write for the school paper, or just start writing a blog. That’s the only way to learn.”

Now that his summer internship is over, Thad himself is freelancing regularly, for the Washington Post and elsewhere. While he continues to cover business news for the Post, he’s particularly interested in uncovering and telling stories about South Carolina for national publications. “There are a lot of good stories down here that aren’t being told,” he says. “So one of my career goals is to be in a regional bureau for a national publication—you’re reaching a wide audience while still maintaining a strong local understanding—that’s really valuable.”

His moment in the spotlight aside, Thad is excited about where his career has taken him so far. “What I love about being a journalist,” he says, “ is the rush you get from chasing after the latest story, and also the value that lies in trying to help people understand what’s going on around them. I also appreciate being able to tell people stories just because they’re interesting, or because they’re typical and illustrate challenges people in our community are facing. There’s a lot of value in reminding people to look around a little bit.”

Read Thad’s most recent articles for the Washington Post at, or follow him on Twitter at

Navy Team Rolls Over White Team in Inaugural Heathwood Alumni Flag Football Game

News Type:  All School Alumni Date:  Friday, December 4, 2015

Twenty-five alumni from the classes of 1994 to 2015 played in Heathwood’s first annual alumni flag football game on November 25, 2015. Officiated by Rip Blackstone, David Prezioso, and Ned Prezioso, the game was hard-fought but the Navy Team, featuring younger alumni, ultimately prevailed over the White Team, featuring members of the classes of 1994-2004, with a score of 84-42.

The game featured a celebrity guest, former Heathwood football coach John Day, and participants and their fan bases had so much fun that plans are already in the works for next year’s game. Stay tuned for details!

Why We Give: Freeman ('97) and Maryanne (P '27, '28, '32)

News Type:  All School Alumni Date:  Tuesday, April 26, 2016

The Belsers have been strong supporters of Heathwood’s 2015-16 Fund-the-Need project, the Center for Strength, Conditioning, and Rehabilitation. Here Freeman Belser talks about why he and Maryanne believe these enhanced athletic facilities  will have a transformative impact on many Heathwood students.

Maryanne and I were both student athletes in high school, so we know first-hand the difference the right facilities and the right training opportunities can make. All of that became even more apparent to me when I got to college. My decision to go to Davidson College was cemented when I was offered the opportunity to be a member of the football team. I loved playing football, and I was of course flattered that a college wanted me to be a part of the team. However, once the boost to my ego faded away, I must admit that I got a little nervous. Here I was, a 175-pound beanpole about to go head to head with older, stronger, and bigger guys. Maybe my new coaches thought the same thing, because shortly after I signed up they sent me a weightlifting book.

What I discovered between May and August of 1997 was that weightlifting, done properly, can not only change you physically, but also give you great confidence. When I reported for fall camp at Davidson, I had added 25 pounds of muscle very quickly. I was strong, quick, and, most importantly, confident. I earned the starting job at linebacker two games into the season and finished the year second on the team in tackles. Over the course of the next several years, I continued to train with weights. By my senior season, I weighed 215 pounds and was confident in both my mind and body.

With the new Center for Strength, Conditioning, and Rehabilitation, Heathwood has the opportunity to provide its students with a means to enhance their bodies and minds, giving them confidence that will yield results both on the field and court and in the classroom.

Heathwood Hall has been a big part of my life. As a student, I had the great privilege of not only receiving an excellent education, but also being exposed to opportunities and ideas that have shaped who I am today. As parents, Maryanne and I have had the wonderful pleasure of seeing our young sons thrive in an environment that provides both innovative and personalized education. As a trustee, I have learned how the School operates and what people and values make it such a special place. Because Heathwood has meant and will continue to mean so much to us, we are excited to be a part of the team that helps the school evolve and become even stronger.

To join the Belsers in supporting the Center for Strength, Conditioning, and Rehabilitation, or to learn more about the project, visit or contact Director of Development Erin Pope at or 803.231.7717.

Kirby Shealy ('89, P '18) is First Recipient of Weston Award

News Type:  All School Alumni Date:  Friday, May 27, 2016

​Heathwood Hall alumnus, parent, and trustee Kirby D. Shealy III (’89, P ’18) is the inaugural recipient of the Anne Thornhill Weston Award.

Named for longtime Heathwood teacher and administrator Anne Weston, the award honors a Heathwood alum who has followed in Anne’s footsteps, sharing her belief in the dignity of all people and the mission of Episcopal schools to serve with faith, hope, and love.

Through his service to Heathwood and to the community at large, Kirby exemplifies those values. In addition to being an active member of the Heathwood Board of Trustees, he currently serves on the boards of Growing Home Southeast and Thomson Child and Family Focus, two agencies that care for children with emotional and psychological issues; is the chancellor of the Episcopal Diocese of Upper South Carolina; and is an Assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 8 of the Indian Waters Council, BSA.

Professionally, Kirby has also been a strong advocate of the values the award honors. He is past president of the John Belton O’Neall Inn of Court, an organization of lawyers and judges whose mission is to promote the highest standards of civility, professionalism, and competency in the legal profession; and he chairs the South Carolina Supreme Court’s Committee on Character and Fitness. In 2015, he received the Gold Compleat Lawyer Award from the University of South Carolina School of Law Alumni Council, in recognition of his significant contributions to the legal profession and his embodiment of the highest standards of professional competence, ethics and integrity.

“Kirby has been a tireless member of the board and keenly focused on helping the school move forward,” said Heathwood Head of School Chris Hinchey.  “I find his insights and advice invaluable.  The only time that he is unable to attend a Board or Board Committee meeting is when he has another commitment to another non-profit.  I’m amazed at well he balances his professional, personal and community service/non-profit commitments.”

“Kirby is a born leader, and his active concern to help his community was beautifully ignited at Heathwood during his formative years,” said his sister Emily Tinch (’91, P ’22, ’24).

A graduate of Davidson College and the University of South Carolina School of Law, Kirby is a partner at Adams and Reese and a member of Trinity Episcopal Cathedral.

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