This year on Saturday, May 22nd there will be a small gathering to recognize the upper school scholarship recipients as well as commemorate the 10th year anniversary of the dedication of the Hannah Marie Bradshaw Activities Center as well as the 20th year anniversary of the groundbreaking ceremony for Bradshaw Hall which was named in memory of Helen Marie Bradshaw, the mother of Stan Bradshaw.
Meyer Hall Upper School
Also close to this date was the dedication ceremony for Meyer Hall – May 18, 2000. The Upper School building was named in honor of the Meyer family, whose members – Mary Elaine O’Neal, and later, her daughter Heidi Hall Jones – provided the land for the present 40-acre campus. It replaced an older Upper School built in 1987 and its construction was afforded by Phase I of the “Share the Vision” capital campaign.
The dedication ceremony was attended by more than 350 members and friends of the O’Neal community. Presenters were Headmaster Jay St. John, Board Chair Holly Floyd, Sandhills Chamber of Commerce Board Chairman David Woronoff, first-grade student Alex Averbook, eighth-grade student Gage Howe, and senior Farra Martin. Major Gifts Committee Chairs Walker and Katie Morris recognized the donors. Heidi Hall Jones of the Meyer Family Foundation spoke about what O’Neal has meant to her and her family and led the ribbon-cutting ceremony. After the dedication ceremony, attendees were invited to tour the new building and to picnic on the soccer field.
Meyer Hall houses the classrooms, science laboratories, and student center for upper school students. A few years after it opened, four more classrooms were added to accommodate the growing upper school student population.
Hannah Marie Bradshaw Activities Center
Fast forward almost a decade, the new activities center opened for students in August 2009. This facility was part of the “Complete the Vision” Capital Campaign and completed the campus master plan that originated in 1999. Its purpose was multifaceted. Regarding sports, it was to provide a second gymnasium allowing more space for basketball and volleyball teams, reducing late-night practice times. The size of the basketball court is regulation size, where the court in Tate Gymnasium runs just short of the requirement. Regarding the arts, a theater was included to expand the arts offerings. An additional four classrooms, a sports performance center, and a sizable atrium for community gatherings helped to complete the facility.
The center was dedicated in May of 2011 as the Hannah Marie Bradshaw Activities Center in a more intimate ceremony with those close to the Bradshaw family.
Youngest daughter of Stan and Jean Bradshaw, Hannah Bradshaw was a 2005 graduate of The O’Neal Lower School and loved her school as a place that nurtured her curiosity, enthusiasm and spirit of friendship. Headmaster Alan Barr welcomed the guests on that Sunday stating, “We are very fortunate to have the support of families such as Stan and Jean Bradshaw who became a part of the O’Neal family over 13 years ago.”
Stan Bradshaw spoke at the dedication saying, “In staying involved at O’Neal, we are motivated by a sense of civic responsibility. We are convinced that a thriving O’Neal School is critically important to Moore County and to the surrounding area. We’ve spoken with countless others who say, as we say, that they would never have moved here were it not for the O’Neal School. Because of O’Neal, there are many more medical specialists, surgeons, other professionals, and philanthropists living here today making this a better place to live for everyone—not just for O’Neal families. We encourage all of you to think of O’Neal in this way as well. It is not just an institution that only O’Neal parents should care about. The O’Neal School is truly a civic asset, and we hope you will help us take this message into the community.”
Stan, a longtime Trustee, all but repeated this message recently in his almost 25 years of involvement with O’Neal at the dedication of the Mary Elaine Meyer O’Neal Garden at Taws Hall Middle School.
Also at the Hannah Center dedication, the late U.S. Senator Harris Blake spoke of the Bradshaw family and their dedication to O’Neal and the community at large. Hannah’s friends unveiled the “Cartwheel Kids” – sculptures created by artist, Gary Lee Price. The Senator described the importance of the enthusiasm and adventuresome nature portrayed by the beautiful artistic pieces. The Cartwheel Kids are prominently displayed in front of The Hannah Center.
Suzanne Phillips, O’Neal Lower School assistant and family friend gave the invocation. “We remember, fondly, Hannah and all that she taught us, in her own shy way, about loving and being kind. We ask you to continue to bless Jean, Stan, and Danielle for their generosity and shining example of care for others. Let our youth appreciate the heritage of The O’Neal School and enjoy the challenge and promise of the future.”
In closing, Danielle Cormier ’14 – then O’Neal freshman, Hannah Marie Bradshaw Scholar, and friend to Hannah sang “Can You Feel the Love Tonight” accompanied by Baxter Clement on guitar.
The O’Neal campus consists of five brick-and-mortar buildings set within an environment that embraces everything of nature. It creates a beautiful, comfortable place to learn. The memory of these dedications helps us to keep in the forefront those trustees and donors who had the vision and the generosity to help turn a rendering into reality.
Falcons Fly to 50
O’Neal is excited to share its history with readers as it quickly nears its 50th year in educating and cultivating youth in becoming successful, effective contributors to communities large and small. The official celebration starts school year 2021/2022. This weekly blog will focus on different aspects of the School as it grew through the years. With every entry, there is just as much more information to gather than what is already written. Readers who have been a part of the O’Neal community are encouraged to reach out and share their O’Neal memories. It is with great hope that the efforts of many in contributing information and photography can be published into a book for reflection and reference as the School continues to prosper for the next 50 years.
Please send your memoirs and photos to:
The O’Neal School
c/o Kathy Taylor, Director of Communications
P.O. Box 290
Southern Pines, NC 28388