Upper School Philosophy

The Upper School strives to create in students a strong desire to become involved world citizens who have a sense of honor, discipline and compassion.
      —From the Upper School Philosophy

Our mission is to instill in students a commitment to academic excellence and recognition of individual potential that will contribute to the development of their characters. Lend us your children, and we will return to you a young adult prepared to succeed in college, excel in business, and change the world.

To make those changes, we believe our students must understand the world they live in. As part of our experiential education methodology, each year we select a country to study. We send teachers to the country for the summer, and they come back immersed in the culture to guide our learning process. Think back to your high school years. Can you imagine acting out a Middle Eastern Summit, tackling the most complex issues? Can you envision singing at a New Year’s Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica? This brand of learning defines the “Hammond Experience.”

The Hammond School celebrates the diversity of the human being and his interests by offering a college preparatory curriculum that is varied enough to create an enthusiastic desire to become involved in the learning process. The academic program must also maintain a core of courses, which reflects a strong liberal arts program that will be seen by highly selective colleges as competitive and credible.

The Upper School strives to create in students a strong desire to become involved world citizens who have a sense of honor, discipline and compassion. We require our students to be active in the learning process and in the living process. Our students should learn to value and understand the differences and similarities of people from every corner of the globe. They should be courageous and willing to take a position of leadership in all areas of existence, from making an impact in the world ecology to creating a human environment that is fair and just. 

Academics and College Preparation

We place a priority on preparing students for college and university studies, and we have established an exemplary record — a 100 percent college admission rate. Part of that success comes from our college counseling program accessible to all students in grades 9-12. The program helps students understand what colleges are looking for in potential candidates.

Our academics are rigorous, and we’re proud of that. We were one of the first Columbia area schools to become a member of the Cum Laude Society.

We believe if a student can make a “B” in a class at Hammond, the student could make a “B” in a class at any college or university in the nation. We stress writing across the curriculum. Our academic program is centered on the core courses of:

  • English
  • Math
  • History
  • Science
  • World Language

Our Advanced Placement courses serve as a foundation for making our students successful college candidates and college students who excel and stand out. Our course offerings include

AP Biology   AP Latin
AP Calculus AB   AP Physics  
AP Calculus BC   AP Spanish Language 
AP Chemistry AP Statistics   
AP English Language AP Studio Art
AP English Literature AP US History   
AP Environmental Science AP Psychology  
AP European History AP French 


Experiential Education

We want Hammond students to possess a restless desire to learn, a driven curiosity to discover how things work, why we perform activities in a certain way, and to question whether ways exist to change things for the better. Experiential education, simply put, is learning by doing. It means our students learn through observation and interaction in addition to reading and classroom instruction. It is hands on, direct experience.  For example, our students:

  • Have their creativity sparked through our moveable classrooms
  • Learn about the world through education, exploration, and service. Trips include:
    • A kayaking river adventure in 9th grade through the Nantahala Outdoor Center to learn about teamwork, bonding, and trust
    • A 10th grade historical exploration of the Gettysburg battlefield and other important sites in American history
    • An 11th grade journey to Costa Rica to experience a different culture and explore new worlds
    • A week-long senior year culminating experience that includes backpacking, rock climbing, and rafting adventure down the Chattooga River

Expert Faculty

We recruit faculty who are experts in their respective fields. We have small classes, and we have created a trusting environment embodied by our strong faculty/student relationships. Renowned natural scientist, and the school’s naturalist-in-residence, Tom Manke uses the campus’s 107 acres to teach every student at Hammond about conservation and the environment and gives each of them real world skills that can’t be taught in a classroom or on a computer.

Building a World Citizen

The Hammond Upper School experience means giving our students a global view through academics, arts, and athletics. Consider this:

Forty students performed Les Miserables at the Fringe Festival in Edinburgh, Scotland to several sold-out audiences

Forty-eight students in our touring ensemble performed at a New Year’s Day mass at St. Peter’s Basilica at The Vatican and continued to tour churches in Italy, performing before standing-room-only audiences

One group walked through the prison camps at Dachau, Germany to understand the horrors and history of the Holocaust.

Ninety percent of our students participate in sports programs.

Student groups immerse themselves in community service work through various local and regional organizations.  


Hammond School

854 Galway Lane, Columbia, SC 29209  •  P:803.776.0295