|Americus, Georgia, United States
|Color(s)||Black, Gold, White|
Southland Academy is a private, co-educational, non-sectarian Christian college preparatory day school in Americus, Georgia, United States, with over 600 students in grades K through 12, covering ages 4 through 19. It was founded in 1967 as a segregation academy.
Southland Academy was originally founded as a private school in response to the desegregation of Georgia in the 1960s. The first classes began in the old Anthony School building on Anthony Drive. In 1970, Southland moved to its current location at 123 Southland Road. It was reported in 1979 that most white parents in the area sent their children to Southland rather than the local public school system, which at the time was 80% black and the subject of boycotts and criticism over alleged neglect and underfunding.
However, the removal of religion from public schools prompted Southland to reinvent itself as a Christian school that states that it prides itself on academic excellence and religious values.
Melvin T. Kinslow, the school's headmaster from 1971 to 1996, in May 2008 attacked suggestions in the local press that Southland is in any way a "segregated" school, noting that it "has a very diverse population with students attending or having attended from Korea, India, China, Germany and France. ... Southland has black students who have graduated, and others who will graduate in the near future".
The school states that it does not discriminate on racial or ethnic grounds. However, its student racial demographics do not reflect the ethnic makeup of the town of Americus. Americus is 39.1% White and 58.3% African American according to the 2000 Census. Southland Academy has a student population consisting of 1% African American students, 1% Hispanic students, 2% American Indian students, and 96% Caucasian students (2006 figures).
The campus comprises 55 acres (220,000 m2). The main buildings are a 4K building and a 5K building, elementary, junior high and high school buildings, the Charles F. Crisp Media and Technology Center, the Jane L. Comer Music Room, the Melvin T. Kinslow gymnatorium, a lower-school gymnasium, an Academic Center and a cafeteria. The two-story gymnatorium, now renovated, has a performance stage as well as a new lobby area.
The school is accredited by Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and the Georgia Accrediting Association, and is a member of the Georgia Independent Schools Association (GISA).
Southland Academy has an active athletic program in the GISA in the AAA region. Sports include football, baseball, softball, basketball, wrestling, cross-country running, track and field, golf, swimming, tennis, girls' soccer, Raiderettes (the dance team), and cheerleading. Male teams are called the Southland Raiders; female teams are the Lady Raiders.
Class AAA State Championships:
- Football: 1986-1987, 1991-1993
- Baseball: 1982-1983, 1989-1991, 1994-1995, 2003-2004
- Golf: 1980-1988, 1991-1992, 1993-1995, 1997-1998
- Boys' Basketball: 1973-1974, 1975-1977, 1982-1983
- Boys' Tennis: 1980-1982, 1982-1984
- Boys' Track and Field: 1975-1977, 1980-1984, 1991-1992
- Softball: 1976-1977, 1999-2000, 2004-2005, 2006-2007
- Girls' Basketball: 1979-1980, 1985-1986
- Girls' Swimming: 1998-1999
- Girls' Track: 1971-1972, 1975-1980, 1989-1990
- Wrestling: 2001-2002
For the first time in five years, Southland Academy's golf team is the 3-AAA region champion (2009).
Ethos, customs, discipline
The school states that it aims to provide students with a Christian atmosphere conducive to learning and good citizenship. Activities are said to be designed to enable the student to analyze problems, perform before his peers, and achieve distinction as an individual. Outside the classroom, opportunities are offered in club work, athletics, music, and oratory so as to provide a well-rounded and complete education, according to the school's handbook.
A tradition at the school is the annual pageant at which the Miss Southland Academy Raider, better known as Miss SAR, is crowned. The pageant was started in 1989 by "Mothers of Motivated Students", now part of Southland's parent-teacher organization. Its purpose is to generate funds for the Thomas A. Greene Scholarship Fund, which helps Southland students in financial need. Funds also go to the new Madeline Anne Wildes Scholarship Fund.
All students must sign the Southland Academy Honor Code against cheating, lying, stealing and plagiarism.
Southland Academy's discipline policy allows corporal punishment by means of paddling for all boys and young men up to and including grade 12, and girls up to and including grade 5. Either the Headmaster or the Assistant Headmaster is present at all paddlings. The school reserves the right to administer corporal punishment as a first line of punishment for acts of misconduct. In appropriate cases, parents may be notified afterwards. The contract to be signed before admission requires all parents to consent to this policy.
Other discipline management techniques include after-school detention and Saturday work detail. For serious infractions, the student may be suspended (in-school or out-of-school).
Southland Academy requires students to follow a strict dress code. Random drug testing is carried out on all students in grades 8 through 12.
- Southland Academy page at greatschools.net.
- Wendell Rawls Jr. (October 26, 1979). "Students in Carter's Home County Continue Boycott of Public Schools". New York Times. p. A16.
- "South Leads the Country In School Desegregation; Some Dramatic Progress Schools Still Segregated", The New York Times, May 9, 1979.
- "Sumter boycott continues", Rome News-Tribune, October 24, 1979.
- "In defense of private schools", Americus Times-Recorder, May 9, 2008.
- Americus city, Georgia - Fact Sheet - American FactFinder, U.S. Census Bureau.
- Southland Academy page, Local School Directory.
- GISA Stats.
- "Southland wins region golf title by 6 strokes", Americus Times-Recorder, April 21, 2009.
- "Miss SAR Pageant to be held March 21", Americus Times-Recorder, March 11, 2009.
- School handbook, p.6.
- Southland Academy enrollment contract.
- School handbook, p.33.