Thomas Sumter Academy’s motto, “Acta Non Verba,” was engraved on the class rings of the first graduates in 1967; it has served as a prologue for the ensuing years. By the 1966/67 school year, the South Carolina Independent School Association had established intramural basketball, and Thomas Sumter Academy was ready with their first team. The school added bus services for students in the outlying communities in that same school year. On December 20, 1968, Thomas Sumter Academy established a Chapter of the National Honor Society for students excelling in Character, Scholarship, Leadership and Service. In the 1970-71 school year, the Mitch Edens III Memorial Gymnasium was constructed, and the Generals basketball team had played on their home court for the first time.
The school added a Bethel Campus in the 1970-71 school year, which operated in addition to the Dalzell Campus for fifteen years through the 1985-86 school year. Enrollment was an all-time high of 1125 when both campuses were in existence during the 1984-85 school year. In the summer of 1986, the Bethel campus was closed, and the school’s enrollment was reduced accordingly.
The 1971-72 school year produced the first Thomas Sumter Academy football team. In 1974, the school established a concurrent studies program with the University of South Carolina at Sumter, enabling Thomas Sumter Academy students to take courses at their campus for college credit. An additional library was added to the physical plant in 1976, followed by three science classrooms in 1979 and the Fine Arts Building in 1984. The Lower School library, a chorus room and dance studio, and more classrooms were added in 1985. The following year, an after-school daycare was initiated under the direction of Mrs. Renee Langston. In 1987, the academic program was strengthened by the installation of the Lower School science and computer labs.
In 1989, Hurricane Hugo hit Dalzell with force, destroying the old auditorium and causing more than $300,000.00 in damage to the school. The spirit of the Generals would require more than a hurricane to destroy it. Renovations were completed in 1990, and the school had a beautiful new auditorium in addition to other repairs and improvements to the physical plant. In 1990, Thomas Sumter Academy was fortunate enough to acquire additional property to be used for sports, and the school activities continued to expand. Studio Art was added to the school curriculum in 1991, and a three-year art program for the upper school was added in 1992. In 1993, the academic program received an added boost when the relationship with the University of South Carolina at Sumter expanded, allowing students to receive college credit for courses taken at Thomas Sumter Academy’s Dalzell campus.
Thomas Sumter Academy proudly celebrated its fiftieth anniversary during the school year 2014-2015. Celebration events included a worship service, Founders Day Assembly, 50 year class reunion, former faculty/staff luncheon, and our General Gala. In honor of our 50th anniversary, several of our original students and founding fathers led the commencement processional at the graduation ceremony of the TSA Class of 2015.
In the summer of 2016, TSA opened the Columbia Campus with 16 students. This new campus was under the tutelage of Mrs. Jody Murphy. With the graduation of the Class of 2017, Thomas Sumter celebrated the graduation of the 50th graduating class. The Class of 2017 had a combined scholarship tally of $5.5 million to colleges and universities such as Washington & Lee, Wofford, The Citadel, University of South Carolina – Beaufort, Francis Marion, Erksine Collge and many others. In June 2017, Thomas Sumter Academy said good-bye to a legend at Thomas Sumter — Mrs. Debbie Nix — who after 39 years of faithful service to TSA retired. Mrs. Nix served as the eighth Head of School for Thomas Sumter. Not only had she served TSA as the Head of School, Mrs. Nix served as a teacher and Development Director. She is green and gold thru and thru! Thomas Sumter Academy’s ninth Head of School is Dr. Frank L. Martin III beginning July 2017.