An award-winning independent school in Mount Pleasant, SC

Faculty Profile: Winnie Caetta

1) How many years have you been at USL? This is my first year at USL!  

2) What is your favorite thing about teaching? My favorite thing about working in a school is that I get to work with students when they are feeling all of their different emotions and going through different phases of their life. My favorite thing about working at USL specifically, is that I get to work with such a wide range of students.  Every day looks different, which I love!

3) What do you enjoy about connecting with students? The students totally fill my bucket! Their witty comments, kind words, and personalities are so fun to connect with and learn from.

4) What is your favorite book? Where the Crawdads Sing

5) What is your favorite inspirational quote? “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” Maya Angelou

6) What is a fun fact about you that people would be interested or surprised to know?  I volunteered with Lacrosse the Nations in Bocas del Toro, Panama and coached lacrosse!

7) What do you do for fun? I love gardening, going to live music and reading a good book at the beach in my free time!

8) What makes you glad you work at USL? Working at USL has been such an incredible experience.  I love getting to work with students in the intermediate school through high school.  There’s so many exciting parts of each grade, so I feel lucky to work with all of them!  I have definitely loved getting to incorporate community service in my work day and have seen a huge difference in my mood from it!

usl kreutner wins scisa vol of year award

University School was honored at the South Carolina Independent School Association’s Fall Heads’ Conference last week! 

Head of School Jason Kreutner was honored with the Charles J. Beach, Jr. Volunteer of the Year Award.

“The Charles J. Beach, Jr. Volunteer of the Year Award is presented each year to a South Carolina Independent School Association Head of School that exhibits leadership with respect to serving others.  This year’s recipient is, without fail, the first to call our office to offer his services.  During potentially hazardous weather, at the onset of Covid, at first mention of Dr. Jordan’s illness – the list is endless.  His faculty boasts that he is a living example of putting service above self and sets that as the gold standard at his school and within our association. It was only yesterday that this individual was reaching out to our office to notify Mrs. Wannamaker of his availability and willingness to serve as an evaluator on upcoming accreditation visits, and he did so enthusiastically.”

In addition to receiving the 2022 Volunteer award, Mr. Kreutner was also honored as Rookie Head of School of the Year in 2008 and named Head of School of the Year in 2013 taking home the Dr. Charles S. Aimar Educational Leadership Award.

Join us in congratulating Mr. Kreutner!

usl alumni profile woodward kristina

Years at USL: 2015 – 2019

I’m currently a senior at Belmont, graduating in Fall of 2023. I’m having an extra semester because I switched my major. I’m now an English major with a concentration of Creative Writing, and a minor in Publishing. I was the graduating class of 2019; I was the only senior that year. I was at USL from 8th grade to my senior year. 

I’m currently working at Abercrombie & Fitch, but trying to work at a local bookstore. I want to be surrounded by books. I’m coming off a semester abroad in Italy in the spring.

After almost two years of working on my novel series, I have finally finished writing the first book of the series. I’m currently in the process of editing myself before I send it to a professional editor and beta readers to give me thoughts on it. I hope to publish traditionally but if that doesn’t work I will self-publish. I have a few friends that have already self-published their first book of their series that I’m currently reading. I’m reading too many books right now. 

Students enjoyed a Halloween-themed Mentor Night on Friday, October 28th, then started off the week on Halloween dressed in fun, inspiring and festive costumes. They paraded along Coleman Blvd and some participated in a trick-or-treat visit with the Hibben preschoolers.

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The students have been working with Spanish Teacher Monica Doubal on setting up their very own altars for Día del Los Muertos celebrated November 1st and 2nd.

On November 1st and 2nd, all members of the USL community, especially parents, are invited to see the “Día del Los Muertos” altars that our students in our Middle and Upper School Spanish created. The best times are during drop-off through Morning Meeting and IS L&L (7:15 AM – 9:00 AM) and during pick-up (approx 2:55-3:20 PM). The students are very proud and excited about what they created and look forward to sharing them with you.

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usl learning from the experts

USL values students learning and understanding the world through experiences and experts. We want to empower USL students to be engaged in civic life. We are building life skills in our students to foster future leaders. These values drive our program of hosting Guest Speakers.

USL welcomes current parents, grandparents, and former families and alumni to attend. Please leave the Q&A to the students.

Below is a full list of Guest Speakers from the first quarter of the year, as well as a list of speakers anticipated for the second quarter:

  • Libertarian Party representative
  • Mt. Pleasant Town Council Member Gary Santos – shipping and port management (before we tour the Wando Welch Terminal)
  • Green Party representative
  • USL pioneer student (’09 graduate) Anna Grace Ewing – Maersk – ocean shipping
  • Emory University Law Professor Polly J. Price – author of Plagues in the Nation on the government and legal responses to COVID and earlier pandemics and public policy successes and failures
  • Greg Nery, US Navy, Prospective Executive Officer, USS George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier (CVN 77)
  • Dr. DuBose Kapeluck, The Citadel Professor of Political Science
  • Young Adult author(s) through USL’s Sara Peck and her leadership with YALLFest
  • Dr. Joseph Kelly, C of C Professor of Irish and Irish American Studies

First Quarter Guest Speakers:

  • Jennifer Berry Hawes – Post and Courier Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist
  • Grace Beahm Alford – Post and Courier photographer and 2013 S.C. Photojournalist of the Year
  • Dr. Annie Andrews (Democratic) & Rep. Nancy Mace (Republican) – opponents for US House District #1
  • Mount Pleasant Town Council Member G.M. Whitley – federalism, life skills
  • Bucky Buchanan, C of C Exercise Science Professor- “Harnessing One’s Mind and Body to Grow”
  • Rachel Pineda, Charleston Hospice
  • Dr. Jenna Abetz, C of C Communications Professor – interpersonal and family communication 
  • Maka Aptsiauri – owner of Euro Foods in West Ashley. She is Ukrainian and has been organizing relief shipments since the invasion by Russia

USL attended three days of competitions in Columbia as part of the South Carolina Independent School Association’s (SCISA) Quiz Bowl State Championship.

The Intermediate School team went undefeated while the Upper and Middle school teams both placed 3rd all around.

The culture of University School plays a big part — civility and sportsmanship, holding learning dear, supporting teammates, love of knowledge and trivia, mentoring, living up to the high standards of those older and before you, etc. 

Congrats to all the teams and the hardworking faculty who work throughout the year to instill a love of learning in their students.

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Upper School: Charlotte Adragna, Ben Flessas, Frank Gibbes, and Kessler Kreutner-Eady

Intermediate School: Justin Baratta, Steven Chou, John Ross Kreutner-Eady, Ensley Lansford, Molly Wymore

Middle School: Max Bluestein, Killian Fillippa, Waverly Lansford, Grayson Leeke, James Oliver, and Clay Slaughter

In December, with Hampton Park as our home base, we learned more about the Park, explored The Citadel, discovered more about Denmark Vesey, enjoyed socializing, and had fun with PE and field activities.

Watch this video recap of our service program over the Holiday Break.

Congratulations to the team: Killian Fillippa, Ben Flessas, Frank Gibbes, Oakley Halpern, Waverly Lansford, and Clay Slaughter.  They went undefeated against Porter-Gaud, St. Anthony’s (Florence), and Wilson Hall (Sumter)!  

University School of the Lowcountry Quiz Bowl Winners

This is our eighth year of competing in Middle School Quiz Bowl.  This is our first State Championship. We’ve won six Region Championships and been State Runners-up twice. 

Thanks to Mrs. Thompson for helping coach the team (on maternity leave), to all of the Upper School team members for leading and preparing them, and to US team member Leo Vaglienti for assisting as a mentor/coach at today’s competition. We also appreciate IS Lead Teacher Randy Straff for helping the team practice over the past week.

We are grateful to all of the faculty for instilling a broad array of knowledge in the students which was reflected in all of the games and our practices.  The mentoring and empathetic culture of University School also meant a lot. There was a lot of help and effort from others over the past months and years to help refine the skills of the members of the Quiz Bowl team. The students also were good sports, thanked our hosts, thoroughly cleaned up our outside space and the competition room, and put everything away after arriving back on campus.

We appreciated the safety protocols that SCISA put in place to make the teams feel comfortable and able to focus on having a good time playing with other trivia-loving students.