Celebrating 50 Years


Wallace O’Neal Day School
On February 18, 1971, a small group of parents wanting an independent school alternative forms the Sandhills Independent School Corporation. Mary Elaine Meyer O’Neal donates 20 acres of land along Airport Road to the organization with the request to name the School after her recently deceased husband, Wallace O’Neal.
Wallace O’Neal Day School opened September 7, 1971 with 3 teachers and 35 students in grades 4-6 at the Campbell House in Southern Pines and a month later into 4 mobile units on the School’s campus.


Taws Hall
The campus gets its first brick and mortar building to include classrooms, gymnasium, and pool. The school building was named Taws Hall in honor of the Taws Family. Edward T. (Ted) Taws was the first president of the Board of Trustees and founding parent. Ted’s father was the major donor for the educational building. The gymnasium was named for Elaine McAlphin Tate, a major donor for O’Neal in the early years. The school, gymnasium and pool were dedicated in January of 1975.


First Graduating Class
O’Neal finishes up its first year serving students grades 1-12 with 23 teachers. Advanced placement courses are in place and it celebrates its first graduating class.


Golf State Champions
The golf team wins its first of three consecutive state championships. Soccer and volleyball were also introduced early and the School soon developed a reputation in swimming.


First Kindergarten Class
Kindergarten is added to student class offerings.


O’Neal initiates what is now called the Academic Enrichment Program for students with learning differences.


Heidi Hall Jones, the daughter of Mary Elaine Meyer, donates another 20 acres to the School allowing for a 40-acre campus.


Dedication of Tate Lower School with Elaine McAlphin Tate
The first Lower School building is built and dedicated to Elaine McAlpin Tate. The name “Wallace O’Neal Day School” changes to “The O’Neal School”.


Lower School Director Jim Miles with the first Pre-Kindergarten Class
Pre-Kindergarten for age 4 is offered.


Meyer Hall Upper School
Upper School students and teachers move into the newly-built Meyer Hall.


Bradshaw Hall
Bradshaw Hall offers common areas to students housing the dining commons, library, art studios and administration.


John Taws and his mother Anne celebrate the renovation of Taws Hall.
Taws Hall and Tate Gym renovations are complete, ending phase II of the campus master plan.


O’Neal Bus
O’Neal hires a transportation services director and bus drivers and purchases new activity buses. Routes from Rockingham, and Sanford run every day for student pick-up and drop-off.


McMurray Hall Lower School
Lower School students and teachers move into the new McMurray Hall Lower School.


Hannah Marie Bradshaw Activities Center
The final phase of the School’s campus master plan is complete with the opening of Hannah Marie Bradshaw Activities Center. The new building houses a second gymnasium, theater, classrooms and exercise room. It is dedicated in May 2011.


The first PreK3 Class
A three-year-old pre-kindergarten class is offered and the three and four-year-old pre-kindergarten program is restructured to allow more scheduling options for parents.


The Greenhouse sits adjacent to McMurray Hall Lower School
The Landmark Society is created to identify 22 individuals and foundations who eliminated the School’s campus debt. The Landmark garden on campus is designed in honor of this group of donors.
A greenhouse, designed to accentuate the lower school science curriculum, is built adjacent to the McMurray Hall Lower School as a part of the science initiative launched at the annual Auction.


The Aquatics Center at Taws Hall
The pool is renovated thanks to those who gave to the Aquatics Center at Taws Hall project launched at the annual auction.


O’Neal announces its year-round swim club, The O’Neal Pelagics.


Wells Fargo Cup is presented to the Upper School student body.
O’Neal wins the Wells Fargo Cup for the first time as a Division 2A school. The Wells Fargo Cup recognizes overall excellence in high school athletics among NCISAA institutions. The winning schools are determined by point totals earned through competition in state championships.


O’Neal announces the Traditions Golf Academy – a junior golf academy offering boutique golf instruction coupled with O’Neal’s academic excellence within a college preparatory high school education.
The O'Neal School admits students of any race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis protected by law to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, citizenship, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis protected by law in the administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.