Nicole Jackson is a 2015 honor graduate of Wardlaw Academy. She is now a biology major at the University of Georgia. Nicole said, “The move from Wardlaw to the University of Georgia was definitely an adjustment, but I do feel like I was prepared to handle it. I believe Wardlaw gave me all the knowledge and materials I needed in order to be prepared for college. It was my job to actually learn the new material and not just memorize what I was given.” She gives current students some great advice, “Learn the information you are given. You may think your next test is really easy and you don’t need to study, however I can guarantee when you get to college you will be faced with material that builds on what you have learned at Wardlaw. Professors do not re-teach the building blocks. Take time to learn in high school what your most effective study method is.” Nicole has many fond memories from Wardlaw Academy. One of her favorites was her senior trip to Florida. Nicole said, “I really developed a bond with the faculty on my senior trip. I am still grateful to Mrs. Whitlock helping me with my senior English portfolio and Mrs. Kelly for helping me with sorority recruitment. They really helped make my transition to college much smoother.” Nicole is on the pre-med track at the University of Georgia and hopes to become a dermatologist in her future. #whywardlaw

Carrie Ann Quarles is a 2014 graduate of Wardlaw Academy. After graduation she went on to attend Lander University. She was a recipient of the Hope and Life scholarships. After her freshman year she transferred to Augusta University to live at home to save money. Graduating debt free was very important to her. Carrie Ann says, “Having such a strong, supportive environment at Wardlaw made me more independent and willing to join the conversation during my college classes, not just sit back and listen. Because of that, I feel like I have gained so much more knowledge. It is so important to be involved.” Carrie Ann encourages current students to take advantage of the duel enrollment classes that are available to them. She said, “Not only did this help me ease into my college classes, it helped me receive my Bachelor’s Degree in three years.” Some of her fondest memories at Wardlaw were are being part of a state championship team and serving as the Student Body Historian. Carrie Ann said, “The best experience was having the chance to go to school with my sister. With us being six years apart, that was something we would not be able to do anywhere else. Being a second generation graduate of Wardlaw Academy and with both of my parents being graduates, ‘Wardlaw Family’ mean something different to us.” #whywardlaw

Daniel Wooten was the 2013 Wardlaw Academy Valedictorian. Daniel recently graduated from Clemson University with a degree in accounting. Daniel believes that the structured environment of classes at Wardlaw helped prepare him for the big change from a small private school to a large university. Daniel said, “I was so grateful that the teachers required me to take notes in class because when I got to college I was one of the few who actually knew how to take them.”  Daniel offers high school students this advice, “Academically, take the time to learn how to study. As vague as that is, you should really find out what your learning style is in high school. Wardlaw’s faculty will help you with that, and I cannot thank them enough for preparing me in this way. Also, don’t be afraid to ask teachers questions. They want you to talk to them.” Some of his favorite memories were being the football statistician and being a part of the basketball and golf teams. Daniel says, “Being on a team or working with one will open up doors and start conversations you never thought you would have. It’s a great social tool and helps teach you discipline, which you will definetely need during your undergraduate years.” #whywardlaw

Tracy Williams Halasz was the 1999 Wardlaw Academy Salutatorian. After Wardlaw she attended Clemson University where she graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Nursing. She then went on to receive her Masters of Science in Nursing from MUSC. Tracy is a Certified Pediatric Nurse Practitioner at the Medical University of South Carolina where she serves as the primary care provider for children in foster care at the MUSC Foster Care Support Clinic. She has served as an executive officer for the National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners where she has given many presentations for this organization. Tracy said, “I felt very prepared leaving Wardlaw to attend Clemson. They prepared me academically, spiritually, and socially. Wardlaw is unique in the fact that it is not just a school, it’s a family. A family that prepares you for college and life. As a student you have an opportunity to have not only college preparatory classes from excellent teachers, but also the supportive atmosphere to grow and learn in extracurricular activities. I do not proof work without remembering punctuation rules that Mrs. Herlong or Ms. Booream taught me, nor calculate medication without using some skill Mrs. Rohr or Mr. Asbill taught me. However, my most precious experiences and memories that have taught me how to be a strong, female leader in my career and life, came from coaches like Dennis Gibson and my peers on the court with me. They taught me to believe in myself, that anything is possible, and determination and discipline are keys to success in life.” #whywardlaw

Kristina Graves is a 2008 graduate of Wardlaw Academy. After graduating from Wardlaw, she went on to receive her Bachelor of Arts in Elementary Education from the University of South Carolina. Kristina said, “Leaving Wardlaw and attending USCA was a very smooth transition for me. I knew that my teachers at Wardlaw truly cared about me. The small class setting promoted the development of good relationships with teachers, which in turn gave me the confidence to build good relationship with my college professors.” Kristina is grateful for the many activities she was able to be a part of during her time at Wardlaw. Kristina stated, “While at Wardlaw I played several sports, volunteered to be an FCA leader, and served as the President of the Student Body. I made it a point to do all these things while maintaining high academic standards. These things helped me develop time management and organizational skills that helped me succeed in college. I recommend students develop these habits while in high school and to get involved in every activity available. Colleges are looking for leaders!” Kristina believes she learned many life lessons while being a part of the Wardlaw family and made friendships that will last her a lifetime. Wardlaw was blessed to have Ms. Graves come back to the Wardlaw family 5 years ago to teach the second grade, coach basketball, and lead the FCA. #whywardlaw

George William Rauton IV is a 2001 graduate of Wardlaw Academy. After Wardlaw he attended Clemson University where he received his BS in Animal and Veterinary Services. Following his undergraduate degree, he attended the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine where he graduated in 2011 with his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. George said, “The transition from Wardlaw to Clemson was a little intimidating. Going from a small private school to 16,000 was very different. I believe with the smaller class sizes at Wardlaw, students are able to develop personal relationships with their teachers. These relationships, helped me improve my “people skills” which proved beneficial both at Clemson and UGA.” George advises current students at Wardlaw to, “learn how to study your subject matter on a daily basis, do not just memorize it the night before. Daily preparation of class material becomes increasingly important the higher one goes with their degree.” When asked what his best experience at Wardlaw was, George said, “Instead of a single best experience, I consider being a part of a small family from kindergarten to my senior year to be my take-away. None of us realized at the time how fortunate we were to have parents other than our own treating us like their own children. In addition, the teachers and administration treated us likewise. We grew up with a sense of security most young people do not have today. That sense of security instilled a level of confidence that has impacted my life thus far.” George is currently a veterinarian at the Johnston Animal Hospital. #whywardlaw

 Benjamin E. “Ned” Nicholson V graduated from Wardlaw Academy in 1980. After high school Ned attended Wofford College where he majored in government. After Wofford, he went on to The University of South Carolina School of Law and received his Juris Doctor. That same year he passed the Bar, and he is now the Group Leader for Litigation for all of the McNair Law Firm offices in Columbia. Ned said, “My transition from Wardlaw to Wofford went great. For me the smaller class size at Wardlaw prepared me for the smaller classes at Wofford; you had to be prepared for class. Wardlaw helped me build the development of competition and provided a balance of academics and athletics. You didn’t have to be a great athlete to play a sport at Wardlaw; you just had to be a hard worker. Basically, you knew if you played a sport, there was accountability to your teammates, your classmates, and your school.” Ned encourages students to learn about as many different things in college as they can. He believes students can learn how to be critical thinkers while they are at Wardlaw, then carry this with them to college. Ned stated, “I came away from Wardlaw with a sense of what it would take to succeed in life, not just because of academic and athletic competition, but because I also learned that there were other kids in life like me with hopes and aspirations.”

     Sarah Stone Gregorich graduated from Wardlaw Academy as the 2006 Valedictorian. She went to Clemson University and received her Bachelors Degree in Elementary Education in 2010. She continued her education at Clemson and earned her Masters Degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. She spent the following two years working and acquiring her South Carolina state licensure as a Licensed Professional Counselor. Sarah has worked at AnMed Health Cancer Center as the Oncology Counselor for 5 years. There she counsels cancer patients and family members in both individual and group counseling settings to help assist them in coping with their diagnosis.

Upon graduation from Wardlaw Academy, Sarah was awarded the South Carolina Life Scholarship as well as the Coca Cola Scholarship. Because of her education and social development at Wardlaw, she felt prepared, confident, and excited about her transition into college life at Clemson. The biggest piece of advice she would give current Wardlaw students about preparing for college would be to realize that college preparation begins early. It is important to start early considering your grades, extracurricular activities, and volunteer opportunities because all of these matter when applying to colleges.

She has so many fond memories of her time at Wardlaw. She loved football Friday nights as a Wardlaw cheerleader, FCA meetings, and participating in Student Body Government. One activity she found incredibly rewarding was her time serving as the yearbook editor. During this opportunity, she was able to see the school and its students from a unique perspective.

Her time at Wardlaw (K4-12th grade) helped shape her into the person she is today and prepared her for life after high school and college.


Mark Metze is a 1987 Salutatorian of Wardlaw Academy. After Wardlaw, Mark attended Clemson University and received a degree in Computer Science. Mark is currently a Development Manager for Softdocs (a software company that develops software solutions for K-12 and Higher Education markets) in Columbia. He lives there with his wife Kathy and their two teenagers, Amanda and Andrew. Mark said, “At Wardlaw, I built close relationships with all of my teachers which enabled me to naturally pursue relationships with my professors at Clemson. This was especially important within the computer science department where the coursework and projects were highly demanding.”  Mark believes that every single experience he had at Wardlaw was his best experience. He does say,”The common theme in all of these memorable events involve the people that I have shared them with. I was extremely blessed to attend Wardlaw for 13 years, and I greatly value the support, guidance, and love that I received during this time.” While at Wardlaw, he learned lifelong skills because of the close relationships he had with students, teachers, coaches, staff, and parents. Skills such as active listening and being fully engaged were the products of the small student body and close-knit culture of the school. Mark said, “These skills have not only allowed me to succeed professionally but also as a husband and father.”

Jessica Allen, Salutatorian of the Class of 2010 attended the College of Charleston where she majored in Public Health. She received scholarships from Junior Miss of Edgefield County, Junior Miss of South Carolina, and received funding from the LIFE scholarship. After graduating from the College of Charleston, Jessica received her Masters of Health Administration from the University of North Texas Health Science Center. Jessica said, “My leadership roles at Wardlaw helped me develop the confidence to form relationships with my professors and my peers at the beginning of my college career. This allowed me to form a network of supportive advisors and peers. The teachers at Wardlaw truly cared for and challenged each student, and made sure that I had the tools necessary to succeed on a collegiate academic level.” She believes that being involved in all of Wardlaw’s extracurricular activities, she learned the time management skills necessary to have a successful college experience. She encourages current students, “Don’t just go to class and go home – be as involved as possible! Take on leadership roles in organizations you are interested in. Colleges want to see that you are a leader, not just a member.” Jessica’s fondest memory of Wardlaw is winning state championships in both volleyball and softball. She believes those experiences built friendships for a lifetime and taught her lessons in life that she is grateful for today. Jessica now lives in Fort Worth, where she is the Program and Marketing Manager for the North Texas Area Community Health Centers. #whywardlaw

Caroline Yarborough is a 2005 graduate of Wardlaw Academy. Upon graduation, she attended Clemson University and graduated from there in 2009. Caroline received the South Carolina LIFE scholarship. Caroline said, “the transition from Wardlaw to Clemson was seamless. With the strength of the teaching staff and the ability to be involved in a number of extracurricular activities, I felt well-rounded entering college. I felt especially strong in English thanks to my teachers (Mrs. Herlong and Mrs. Booraem).” She advises future graduates that “college is just as much who you know as what you know. While Wardlaw provided a strong educational background, the school also offered a number of activities to be involved in such as student government, athletics, and FCA. Getting involved in all of these programs helped me recognize many familiar faces on Clemson’s campus. It also helped me feel comfortable exploring many options in college which facilitated connections that have influenced me for the better, both personally and professionally.” Caroline also credits her basketball coach, Dennis Gibson for his leadership, advice, and positive influence throughout her Wardlaw experience. Caroline is currently the Business Development Manager at McGuire Woods LLP, in Charlotte. #whywardlaw


Ed Williams is a 2016 graduate of Wardlaw Academy. He is a sophomore at The Citadel and is majoring in Business Administration. His freshman year he received the HOPE scholarship and his sophomore year he received the Life scholarship. Ed said, “My transition from Wardlaw to college is a little different than a normal college freshman. Coming from a senior in high school with the feeling of being on top off the world, to becoming a knob is definitely hard. Finding the balance between academics and my knob responsibilities was definitely challenging. I do feel that Wardlaw prepared me both socially and academically. I felt very well rounded coming into college. I was on the Dean’s List both semesters of my freshman year and I am on track to make it again this year. Playing sports at Wardlaw is where my passion for leadership began. It also helped me develop my time management skills.” Ed credits his teachers at Wardlaw for giving him the courage to develop strong relationships with his professors. He said, “I think my academic success so far has been because I am not afraid to ask questions. If you go out of your way to get help for a class when you are struggling, the professors see that you care. My best experience at Wardlaw was being close with all of my teachers and friends.” Ed encourages high school students to go on as many college visits as they can to find the very best fit! The Citadel sophomore stated, “Do not settle, go where YOU want to go!”#whywardlaw




We will be featuring different alumni every week and highlighting their personal experience at Wardlaw Academy. We invite you to read each week about how Wardlaw Academy has helped mold and prepare each graduate for the next step.


Graduate Beth Warnken, was the 2017 Wardlaw Academy Valedictorian. She is now a freshman at Winthrop University in their Honors Program. Beth received several scholarships including Palmetto Fellows, Winthrop Fellows, Winthrop Garnet, Girls State, and Watson Brown. Beth said “Wardlaw gave me all of the academic information and skills I needed to prepare me for college.” She also stated “My best experience at Wardlaw was being involved in the student government. Planning trips to the State House and Myrtle Beach really helped me prepare for my role in the Emerging Leaders Program at Winthrop. I encourage all students to get involved in the student government and push yourself to get organized. No one will do this for you at college, so let the amazing teachers and staff at Wardlaw Academy help prepare you for the next step!” Beth is not only involved in the Emerging Leader Program, in between her honor classes she is also a member of the Baptist Student Ministry and on an intramural volleyball team. Beth Warnken is the perfect example of #whywardlaw. Tune in next week for another spotlight graduate!