The Importance of Community in Schools

Class of 2022 high school students wait for their little buddies on the first day of school.

Our youth can say the sweetest things. As children learn to properly articulate their thoughts, there is a special truthfulness that always rises to the top. In January 1972 words from O’Neal’s students were printed in the program for its first-ever Monte Carlo Benefit. The section was called “Why I Like Wallace O’Neal School”. Fourth-grade … Continue reading The Importance of Community in Schools


2015 Boys and Girls swim teams hold their state championship trophies.

Swimming and O’Neal have gone hand in hand from almost the beginning. The natatorium was a part of O’Neal’s first brick and mortar project which is comprised of the Edward Taws Education Center, Tate Gymnasium and the pool. For many years it was the only offering in town.

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The feature photo is reminiscent of a scene in the movie Sandlot. The O’Neal School baseball team of 1974 had the amenities of a backstop and some dirt for practice as the mobile unit school buildings sit not too far from the action. By this time, O’Neal was serving students in grades 4-9. It was a young team.

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McMurray Hall Dedication

On September 7, 2006, the Parents Association hosted its annual picnic in the form of a party, kicking off the school year celebrating O’Neal’s 35th birthday and the celebration would last the whole school year. That day was coincidentally the day that O’Neal presently celebrates as Founders Day. There was a significant lapse of time in O’Neal’s 50 years where Founders Day was not celebrated. It was not until O’Neal turned 40 that the research was done to determine the official Founders Day for the School. At the picnic, the groundbreaking ceremony was held for the new lower school building. It was the beginning of a new phase of the School’s master campus plan and a large component of the second consecutive capital campaign – Complete the Vision.

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Taws Hall Dedication

O’Neal’s first brick and mortar facility was dedicated on January 5, 1975, only a few years after Wallace O’Neal Day School was established. The School was growing every year and the mobile units that comprised the School, were at their maximum capacity. But it was not a reactive decision to build, it was the plan all along. In fact, in 1972 the wheels started turning on a proposed school building. President Ted Taws Jr and his board seemingly had a plan that was well thought, from the fundraising to the building plan and the dedication. With James Van Camp as the building committee chair, a $828,000 capital campaign was launched.

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The Season of Giving

O’Neal’s ONV/Key Club was very successful with their canned food drive for the local food pantry this year, donating 1200 items in total. This is something that O’Neal does every year. It may be managed by a different organization or division, but it happens annually. Though all schools are good to serve its community, not only for the sake of the community, but to also introduce the students to the concept and the importance of giving. It is intriguing that community service at O’Neal started only two months after it opened with a food/clothing drive to assist the Moore County Welfare Department, only to follow the next month, December 1971, when all 41 students raised $95.04 to the United Fund of Moore County and asked it to be given to the Moore County Mental Health Association.

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What do basketball games, pep rallies, homecoming parades, and community fun runs have in common? --- Cheerleaders! Records show O’Neal having a cheer team starting in 1974. There have been a few years O’Neal cheerleaders have not been on the scene, but for the most part O’Neal’s cheerleaders have the floor for our famous pep rallies. They perform awesome routines, especially for “Silent Night” and Homecoming games. They lead the way for homecoming parades and were the best motivators for O’Neal runners during the former beloved Reindeer Run held in Aberdeen every year. Most of all, those students who participate on an O’Neal cheer team have great memories to last them a lifetime.

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O’Neal Receives First Accreditation

Accreditation. It’s important. It is an all -inclusive evaluation of a school from those within the school community as well as from representatives of other schools. There are requirements for accreditation. It keeps schools in check and assists with its operations, especially independent schools who, other than state compulsory attendance laws, are not governed or monitored by a state board of education to determine standards, develop curriculum, admit students or hire teachers. The evaluation provides data and feedback to make continuous improvements in all areas of a school operation.  The accreditation is based on the evaluation of the school to determine if it not only meets the needs of the students and community, but also the standards of the commission.

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