Laura James is a 2017 graduate of Presbyterian College (Magna Cum Laude) with Bachelors of Science in Early Childhood Education with additional certification in Elementary Education. She is presently teaching kindergarten at Clinton Elementary in Clinton, South Carolina. Laura received Presbyterian College’s Belk Scholarship, South Carolina LIFE scholarship, and various Education scholarships. She states that her  transition from Wardlaw to Presbyterian College was very smooth. Laura said,“ One of the reasons I fell in love Presbyterian College because it had the same “family” feel I grew up knowing.” Wardlaw Academy prepared me for college by continually pushing me to better myself.  At Wardlaw, I learned the value and importance of teamwork, leadership, and volunteering through the variety of extracurricular activities that were offered such as, Math Team, Student Government, FCA, and athletics. Through these activities, I learned valuable life skills that would continue to benefit me during my college career. Wardlaw gave me the right experiences to be better equipped to serve others and get involved on my college campus. During my time at Presbyterian College, I was able to serve as the President of FCA, hold an executive officer position in my sorority, volunteer at the local Humane Society, conduct and present Capstone Research, and tutor peers. I owe a lot to Wardlaw for providing me with a solid foundation going into college. The best advice that Laura would give to students is to not be afraid to get involved! Get to know your professors and never be afraid to ask for help. Most of all, enjoy every moment, it will fly by!

Wendell Davis Jones is a 1979 graduate of Wardlaw Academy and Patricia Quarles Jones is a member of the graduating class of 1980. Wendell’s tenure at Wardlaw was 3 ½ years hile Patricia (Tricia) attended Wardlaw for 10 years, entering as a third grader in 1970 on the year Wardlaw was founded. One of her first classrooms was in the old house at the top of the hill.

Wendell and Tricia started dating while Wendell was a senior at Wardlaw and Tricia was a junior. Upon his

graduation in 1979, Wendell attended Furman University in Greenville, SC. After Tricia graduated from Wardlaw in 1980, she attended Miller-Motte Technical College (formerly Phillips Business College) in Augusta, GA and Wendell continued at Furman with a major in mathematics. After they both graduated, they were married soon after in 1983 and then Wendell started graduate school at Clemson University in the Department of Mathematical Sciences while Tricia worked at the university in the Department of Human Resources. Wendell received his MS (1985) and PhD (1987) degrees from Clemson in Mathematical Sciences with an emphasis in Statistics.
Wendell’s transition from Wardlaw to college was a little different from Tricia’s as she commuted to school from home while Wendell lived on Furman’s campus. They both acclimated quickly to their different college lives as Wendell and Tricia both had very good teachers in the core subjects while they attended Wardlaw. Bruce Robertson taught them both Algebra, Trigonometry, and Calculus. Phyllis Davis taught them both Senior English and taught Tricia in a Creative Writing class. Elizabeth Morgan taught them both in English and French. For Wendell’s senior year, he was the only student in his French II class. It was like having Mrs. Morgan as his own personal tutor. As a result, Wendell placed out of the first two of his three semester French requirement at Furman. They both felt that we were fortunate to have attended Wardlaw prior to college.
They have two sons who have just graduated from college. Their youngest son was a business major at NC State University and the other was a Physics major at NC State who also just finished his PhD in Biophysics at Ohio State University. Tricia says, “One thing we have noticed in their generation that is different from our generation is that they are taking more advanced classes more quickly. Both of them knew their initial major before they even applied to college and that seems to be true for many college-bound students today. We would say challenge yourself if for no other reason than to figure out what interests you and what does not. At the same time, be flexible while in college and beyond as it is common for people to shift careers after graduation. Wendell and I are both doing different things in different areas relative to our first jobs although many skills we learned at Wardlaw and in college were carried over.  I am now teaching a preschool transition kindergarten class while Wendell is working primarily in cancer research. Wendell’s first jobs were in the telecom and computing industry while I first worked in business offices.”
Tricia’s favorite memory from Wardlaw was, “I especially remember how my Creative Writing class taught by Phyllis Davis helped craft my writing skills and foster a love for writing that I have since used in many aspects of my life. I have written numerous newsletters, articles, and WMU conference curriculums while directing my church’s women’s mission program for 20 years. I now use those writing skills to blog and compose articles for my preschool’s website as well as administrate its Facebook page and Remind systems. I was also humbled to be given the opportunity to be the piano accompanist for Wardlaw’s school chorus. Since graduation, I have continued to play the piano to accompany children’s choirs and worship services, and even sometimes play just for fun. My favorite pieces to play are hymns based on Bible verses that I can draw upon for guidance and encouragement.”
Wendell had many great experiences both academically and athletically. The camaraderie and intensity that exists within a football team was a new experience for him.  The experience he had and the skills he learned as a baseball player while at Wardlaw allowed him to coach Little League to High School level teams later, which he has enjoyed greatly.  Some of the best experiences for Wendell were at a personal level. His parents moved to NC during his senior year, but he wanted to finish high school at Wardlaw. He was staying mostly with some friends in Batesburg, SC, but that was quite a commute especially with practices, games, and senior activities going on after school. Some of his friend’s parents and teachers allowed him to stay with them on occasion when schedules were pinched. This allowed Wendell to get to know many adults including teachers on a more personal level in an environment outside of school, and he hopes that he has been able to carry forward their positive influence on him to others.
Tricia concludes, “Wendell and I feel very blessed that we were given the opportunity to attend Wardlaw with its small classes, knowledgeable and loving teachers, and family environment. At Wardlaw, we were given the tools to lay a solid foundation for our future. My parents were also a major influence in that foundation as well. Their hard work and extra odd jobs are how they paid for my tuition: selling firewood, working at the golf course, and baking cakes to name a few. They, along with our Wardlaw family, taught us that hard work and a good education are a winning combination!!”

 Douglas Herlong graduated from Wardlaw Academy in 2012. William graduated from Clemson University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in 2016 where he majored in religious studies and minored in communication studies. He is currently pursuing a Masters of Divinity at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. For Douglas, it was both exciting and challenging to transition from Wardlaw to college as he grew up in Johnston and attended Wardlaw since kindergarten. Now was the time for him to step away from what he was comfortable with and embrace the Clemson environment. Herlong says, “I think the opportunity to move away and develop independently with new people is a worthwhile experience for anybody.” Wardlaw Academy taught Douglas the fundamental lessons that are crucial in college while providing a close community with teachers and coaches who took time to get to know us, teach us, and invest in our lives. He learned that commitment and self-discipline are the keys to success while never neglecting the quality of your character.
Douglas’s advice to future Wardlaw graduates that are preparing for college is, “You’ve got a four-year period carved out to become educated and articulate. Be sure to make the best of it. Find good professors who both inspire and challenge you to develop your area of study. Develop good friendships with people who will push you and want the best for you. Know that if you take time to learn how to think critically, write well, and do good research, you will be amazed at what you’re capable of. Know that you will make mistakes and have many challenges ahead, but there’s always grace and opportunities to grow yourself. Lastly, enjoy this time! College was an amazing experience that I wouldn’t trade for anything. So be excited, stretch your horizons and have fun!”
One of Douglas’s favorite memories from Wardlaw was his time in sports, particularly football. Winning the State Championship was an incredible time, and he still thinks back to it every now and then. Douglas says, “It taught me what hard work, dedication and working with others could accomplish. The many lessons we learned through our coaches translated into many different aspects of my life. I still cherish the friendships I had through my time at Wardlaw, many of which still continue to today.”
 Mark Steadman graduated in 1974, second in his class. He went on to Wofford College graduating Magna cum Laude in 1978. After receiving his Bachelor’s Degree, Mark attended medical school at MUSC in Charleston, SC finishing in 1982. Upon graduation, he then started his residency in family medicine at Roanoke, VA. After three years he completed the residency as chief resident. Mark then returned to Florence, SC to open and grow his family medical practice where he has been for the last 32 years. Mark says, “I feel that my preparation for the future was enhanced by Wardlaw. The teachers all took an active roll in helping to guide my future steps. I felt there was always personal attention if I needed it. My advice to all students is to have a passion for whatever they feel they wish to do in life. There are no wrong jobs but if you don’t love what you do it will get old in a hurry. Also, if you know what you want to do in life, sit down and really understand what that total commitment means in terms of your life goals. Hopefully no regrets, though there will be mistakes. Don’t let that stop you from your achieving your dreams.” #whywardlaw


Amanda (Lowe) Ouzts graduated in the class of 2004 and married Jay Ouzts from the class of 2003. They currently live in Moncks Corner, SC with their son, Samuel, age 3. Amanda is currently the HCA South Atlantic Division’s Clinical Applications Manager. After graduation, Amanda attended the University of South Carolina for a Bachelor of Science in biology. Her transition from Wardlaw to college was easy due to the preparation that the teachers and staff gave her throughout her school years; from the SAT Prep class with Mrs. Herlong to the comma education from Ms. Boream. Amanda recalls, “At Wardlaw, I was part of a community that supported me in a way that challenged me and allowed me to grow as a student. With the small class sizes, I was able to have unique experiences and also take on responsibilities that larger schools could not offer.” The best advice Amanda received in school was to accept that you will not have all the answers, but knowing where to find the answers is the key. Amanda says, “You will become part of a larger community with your transition to college, and you will be your best resource. Get to know your professors, get to know your syllabi, get to know your counselor and get to know your degree path; however, don’t forget to have some fun!” Amanda’s best experience at Wardlaw come from her seventeen classmates. She shares, “We experienced many laughs and tears with many fond memories that could only come from a small class. Things learned from those classmates will always be with me and make up the person I am today.”

Katie Warnken is a junior at Lander University and is studying to become a math teacher. Katie feels truly blessed to be a part of the Wardlaw alumna because it definitely prepared her for college life. Katie said, ‘the teachers at Wardlaw really wanted us to master the material we were learning. She remembers they would take extra days to explain the content to us if we were having a lot of trouble, and she really appreciated that.” In college, it is important that you understand the basics of a subject because professors don’t typically review with you. Katie says, “I think that I was as prepared as I could have been when stepping into my first college class. I would like to tell current Wardlaw students to soak it all in. Take every opportunity offered to you at Wardlaw, and to the best of your abilities, learn as much as possible and enjoy all that you can. Continue with this attitude as you move on to college, and you will be a step above the rest. It reminds me of the quote that Mr. Whitlock always told us, ‘Do today what others won’t, so that tomorrow you can do what others can’t.’ Accepting the opportunities and obstacles that come your way will prepare you for the future.”


Kara ‘Beck’ Dye is part of the Wardlaw Academy graduating class of 2011. After her 13 years at Wardlaw, Kara attended and graduated from Appalachian State University where she attained her Bachelor of Science in Communication, Public Relations with a minor in English. Because of her strong academic foundation built and fostered by Wardlaw, the transition from high school to college was nearly seamless especially in English Literature. Kara says, “Because Wardlaw encouraged me to be a part of extracurricular activities, athletics, and clubs, it was natural for me to immediately involve myself with various campus opportunities like Reformed University Fellowship (RUF), Zeta Tau Alpha Fraternity, and the Club Volleyball Team.” During her freshman year at Appalachian, Kara also served as a Huddle Leader at both the middle school and high school FCA Garden City Retreats after encouragement from her Wardlaw FCA sponsor, Trudi Belcher. It was here that Kara discerned a real call to outdoor ministry, so she spent her summers in college as a camp counselor at Camp Lutheridge in Arden, NC, where she met her husband Parker. After college, Kara accepted a position with NovusWay Ministries, a nonprofit Christian camp organization, as the Social Media/Publication Specialist, later on becoming the Marketing Coordinator for the organization. Kara and Parker have recently relocated to Aiken, SC, where she is the Director of Marketing and Development at Gravatt Camp and Conference Center, still marketing for the cause she truly believes in: nonprofit outdoor ministry. Kara concludes, “Without the support I received from faculty like Mrs. Trudi during her time at Wardlaw and after graduation, I would never be where I am today. This support and encouragement is the driving force of the Wardlaw Family dynamic, and it is the force that I take with me each and every day.”


Barbara Jolly is a 1984 graduate of Wardlaw Academy. After graduation from Wardlaw, she went to Clemson University and then MUSC where she acquired a physical therapy degree in 1992. Since that time, Barbara has worked for the last 23 years for South Carolina Vocational Rehabilitation. Her work is to get people with disabilities back into the workforce as productive tax paying citizens. Barbara says, “This has been a very rewarding career. I credit my years at Wardlaw for this success. Although, most of my credit for my success goes to my parents who gave me the opportunity to go to Wardlaw. The higher quality education and caring teachers provided me the early background needed to pursue the degree of my dreams. My advice to current and future Wardaw students is to take advantage of all the attentiveness your teachers provide and all the activities that are provided at Wardlaw. My best experience at Wardlaw would be my years playing sports. It not only provided me with some of the fondest memories of a team family, but it taught me how to be competitive and work to be my best. Remember you only get out of life what you put into it. Keep your eyes on God and pursue His work and you will succeed. I was truly blessed with 13 of the best years of my life thanks to my Wardlaw family.”


 David Dukes graduated from Wardlaw Academy in 1976. He attended Clemson and graduated with a degree in financial management. While at Clemson he served in leadership positions in the Sigma Nu Fraternity, was president of the Interfraternity Council, and was inducted into Blue Key honor society and Tiger Brotherhood. David then attended the University of South Carolina School of Law where he was a member of the Law Review and the national Moot Court team. He graduated with a Juris Doctorate degree cum laude in 1984.

David joined the Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough law firm in Columbia and practiced in the area of civil litigation. He has tried cases throughout the United States. From 2001 to 2011 he served as Managing Partner of Nelson Mullins. When David started at Nelson Mullins in 1984, the law firm had only an office in Columbia and 42 lawyers. Today Nelson Mullins has 17 offices across the country and approximately 550 lawyers. He has been recognized as one of the best product liability defense trial lawyers in the country.
“Wardlaw Academy prepared me very well for college. I had a solid foundation in English, math and the sciences. I found my transition to college to be very smooth. In addition, I played football and basketball at Wardlaw and had a very well-rounded background as I headed to college. My three children have all graduated from Hammond School in Columbia, and I have frequently reminded them that Wardlaw Academy beat Hammond (the largest independent school in the state) in football my senior year in 1976. My education at Wardlaw in the classroom, playing athletics and through other extracurricular activities gave me the foundation that allowed me to succeed academically and professionally.”


Rance Bryan graduated from Wardlaw in 1999. Rance attended Clemson University with the Life Scholarship and majored in Management and Finance and received his B.S. in 2003. He then attended The Citadel and graduated with a MBA in 2005. Mr. Bryan says, “I think the biggest preparation that Wardlaw provided me was to constantly be in a leadership position, even at an early age. Whether it was sports, student government, or other activities around school, Wardlaw showed me how to be involved and make a difference. Even little things like cutting the grass on the football field or repainting the gym taught me to take pride in my school and to assume responsibility for its upkeep.”

Rance’s best experience from Wardlaw was playing sports. He participated in football, basketball, and baseball. He had some great games and teammates that he’ll never forget. We won two state championships in baseball and played for one in basketball. Rance says, “I’ll never forget competing on those Friday nights, hearing the parents cheer, and listening for Gerald Doolittle to announce your name and number when you made a great play. It was almost twenty years ago, but feels like yesterday.”

His advice for future Wardlaw students is to, “Enjoy your experience as much as possible. It goes by very quickly. I would recommend getting involved in as many activities as possible and to try and meet as many people as you can. College is a great time to learn from other people, but also about yourself. Don’t be nervous about signing up for a new activity or introducing yourself to a new group. They may turn out to be some of the best friends you’ll ever make.”


Kimberly Sawyer graduated from Wardlaw in 1999, she attended Wofford College where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology. Kimberly then attended USCA where she earned a Master of Science in Applied Clinical Psychology and then later became a licensed counselor (LPC). She works as the Forensic Interview Specialist and Multi-disciplinary Team Coordinator at the Child Advocacy Center of Aiken County where they work with law enforcement agencies and child protection agencies to assist in child abuse investigations.
Kimberly says, “coming to Wardlaw in the 10th grade, into a smaller, more family-like environment, enabled me to become more comfortable participating in things I wouldn’t have participated in at another school. I got involved in sports, became the yearbook editor, attended Palmetto Girls State, and other activities; which, I believe, directly led to my acceptance at Wofford College. Wardlaw also played a crucial role in helping me obtain my MS as the school was gracious enough to allow me to come in several times and have students participate in my research in order to complete my masters’ thesis. I felt prepared for life at college as I had learned how to study, what it means to work as a team, how to complete projects with a group, and to be comfortable approaching professors for help from my time at Wardlaw.
My advice for current students would be to get involved in as much as you can – academically and athletically. Take the highest level of classes you can and even if you don’t play sports, attend events, because there is a lot you can take with you to college from being part of the Wardlaw family.”


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!