Savannah Country Day School

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Savannah Country Day School
Savannah Country Day School
Usus Per Scientiam Moresque (Service through knowledge and character)[1]
824 Stillwood Drive
Savannah, Georgia, 31419-2643
United States
Type Private, co-educational
Established 1955
Headmaster Kef L. Wilson
Grades Pre-kindergarten to twelfth grade
Number of students 911
School color(s) Green and gold
Nickname Hornets

The Savannah Country Day School (SCDS) is an independent college preparatory school founded in 1955 in Savannah, Georgia. The co-educational school serves students from pre-kindergarten through to twelfth grade, and has 921 students enrolled.[2]

Nina Anderson Pape Middle School building.


Vintage Pape School photo.

Savannah Country Day School originates from the founding of the Pape School by Nina Anderson Pape in 1905. Savannah Country Day School itself was founded in 1955 by a group of parents, with the school taking over the assets and faculty of Pape School, including the facilities east of Forsyth Park, and the school's curriculum.[3] In 1960, the school moved to its current Windsor Park location, south of Savannah. A book titled "Service Through Knowledge and Character" details the school's history.[4] The first Headmaster was Robert W. Trusdale and first Upper School Principal was Thomas Triol, whose wife Helen taught chemistry and physics.

In 1983, Dr. Paul M. Pressly became the school’s Headmaster. A Rhodes scholar who earned degrees from Princeton University, Harvard University and Oxford University, Dr. Pressly helped develop a long-range plan for the school.[5] In 1991, a visiting committee from the U.S. Department of Education named Country Day a National School of Excellence, one of only 10 independent schools in the nation to receive that award.[6] The school was honored by the Blue Ribbon Schools Program in December 1992.[7]

In November 2006 the school suspended two fourteen year-old students for bringing a homemade bomb onto the school's campus, which was reported to contain "firecracker, some dried vegetation, colored paper, gunpowder, little BBs and some metal shavings".[8] A bomb squad was called to remove the device.[9] The school kept the bomb for twenty-four hours before reporting it to the police, with Tom Bonnell, the head teacher at the time of incident, later commenting that the school should have "handled the situation differently" and "called police immediately", but also said that he believed that the students did not intend to "hurt anyone". Following a police report, both students were expelled and charged with felony offenses including "possession and manufacturing [of] an explosive device".[10][11]

In 2013, Kef L. Wilson became the school's new Headmaster.[12] He is the eighth Headmaster since the school's inception in 1905.[13]


Savannah Country Day School continues founder Nina Anderson Pape’s mission to “educate the whole child”[14] and emphasizes ademics, character development and community service. Savannah Country Day School has been named “Best Private School” by Savannah Magazine[15] and has been honored as the “Best Private School” by Connect Savannah.[16]

The curriculum is divided between lower school (pre-kindergarten to fifth grade), middle school (sixth grade to eighth grade), and upper school (ninth grade to twelfth grade). The average class size is sixteen students with a student:teacher ratio of 10:1.[2]

The school offers twenty Advanced Placement (AP) courses.[2] For graduation twenty 20 Carnegie Units are required which include the study of English, mathematics, history, science, foreign languages, physical education and health, and fine arts.[17]

A "Little School" exists for children between the ages of six weeks and three years.[18] The school also offers "summer programs" for children in the form of day camp experiences. Activities available can include academics, arts, athletics, and outdoor experiences.[19]


Tuition payments apply to all year groups, with financial aid grants available. The school has an acceptance rate of 50%.[2] Savannah Country Day School does not discriminate and admits students of any race, color, creed, sex or national and ethnic origin.[20]


Savannah Country Day School’s campus is located on a wooded 65-acre campus located on Savannah’s southside in the Windsor Forest neighborhood.[21] In 2005, the school completed construction on the Nina Anderson Pape Middle School building.[22] In 2008, the school officially opened a new LEED Silver-certified Lower School.[23]

Middle School lab
View of Upper School students

Fine Arts[edit]

The Fine Arts program at Savannah Country Day School exposes students to visual art, general music, choral music, dance, jazz band, theatre, drama, photography, orchestra and technology-based visual arts.[24] The program is primarily performance and studio-based, culminating in public exhibits and performances.

In 2011, the Savannah Country Day School chorus was 1 of 14 choirs selected to Handel’s “Messiah” live at Lincoln Center in New York.[25] The show was reviewed by The New York Times and described as a “full-throttle” experience.[26] In 2013, the Varsity Jazz band performed live on Carnival's “Sensation” ship during a cruise to Nassau, Bahamas.[27]

Environmental stewardship[edit]

Students cultivating vegetables from the organic garden

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Education recognized the school as a Green Ribbon School in honor of its commitment to environmental stewardship.[28] In 2011, Savannah Country Day was awarded the nation's first Green Flag award by the National Wildlife Federation.[29] In 2008, the school dedicated the first Silver LEED-certified Lower School in Chatham County.[30] The 52,500-square-foot Lower School building includes the following environmental features:[31]

  • Non-toxic paint and carpet.
  • A roof system to catch and store rain in an underground cistern and then water the gardens.
  • Energy saving windows.
  • Carpets, paints and cabinets with reduced volatile organic compounds.
  • Surrounding landscaping and gardens with plants and shrubbery requiring minimal water.
  • An 800-gallon aquacenter.
  • A butterfly garden equipped with special cameras to show the different stages of butterflies.
  • Countertops made from recycled material.
  • Low-water urinals and water heads.

Since the school's first vegetable garden was planted in the 1970s, the school has expanded to include a Butterfly Garden, Herb Garden, Fruit Garden, Brown Thumb Garden, Monet Garden, Organic Spot, Shakespeare Garden and Pangaea Garden. Throughout the school year, third-grade students plant, tend, harvest and eat fruits and vegetables grown on campus in the SCDS cafeteria. Additionally, students donate vegetables from the garden to a local food bank.[32]


The Savannah Country Day School motto “Service Through Knowledge and Character” places an emphasis on community service and service learning.[33]

Recent SCDS service activities include:[33]

  • Second Harvest Food Bank food drive
  • Red Cross blood drive
  • Ronald McDonald House meal preparation
  • Relay for Life

Student activities[edit]

Academic competition[edit]

  • Academic Quiz Bowl
  • Mock Trial
  • Math Team


  • Cross country
  • Club Sailing
  • Track and field
  • Basketball
  • Soccer
  • Tennis
  • Golf
  • Baseball
  • Cheerleading
  • Wrestling
  • Volleyball
  • Football

Clubs and organizations[edit]



  1. ^ "Who We Are: Mission & Philosophy". Savannah Country Day School. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d "Savannah Country Day School". Private School Review. February 3, 2010. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  3. ^ "Who Are We: History". Savannah Country Day School. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  4. ^ "Service Through Knowledge and Character". Savannah Country Day School. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  5. ^ Service Through Knowledge and Character, p. 84
  6. ^ Service Through Knowledge and Character, p. 86-87.
  7. ^ "Savannah school wins recognition for excellence". The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. December 25, 1992. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  8. ^ "2 teens bring homemade bomb to school". USA Today. November 20, 2006. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  9. ^ Kelley, Brooke (November 21, 2006). "Students Suspended in Connection with Bomb Scare". WTOC-TV. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  10. ^ "2 teens expelled for bringing homemade bomb to Ga. prep school; school waited to call police". WHDH (TV). November 22, 2006. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  11. ^ Matteucci, Megan (November 29, 2006). "Students charged with having bomb at school". The Florida Times-Union. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  12. ^ "Savannah Country Day School Names Head of School," Savannah Morning News, October 31, 2012, [1].
  13. ^ "Savannah Country Day School Names Head of School", Savannah Morning News, October 31, 2012,
  14. ^
  15. ^ “Best of Savannah,” Savannah Magazine, September/October 2012,
  16. ^ “Best of Savannah 2009: City Life,” Connect Savannah,
  17. ^ "Academics (Upper School): Curriculum". Savannah Country Day School. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  18. ^ "School Life: The Little School". Savannah Country Day School. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  19. ^ "School Life: Summer Programs". Savannah Country Day School. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 
  20. ^
  21. ^ Savannah and Hilton Head by Rich Wittish and Betty Darby
  22. ^ Service Through Knowledge and Character, p. 86
  23. ^ “Country Day dedicates first green elementary school in county,” Savannah Morning News, October 29, 2008,
  24. ^
  25. ^ “Savannah Country Day Chorus Performs at the Lincoln Center,” Savannah Morning News, December 5, 2011,
  26. ^ "Unfurling Hallelujahs at Full Throttle," New York Times, November 29, 2011,
  27. ^
  28. ^ "Savannah Country Day School Honored," Savannah Morning News, April 26, 2012,
  29. ^
  30. ^ "Country Day dedicates first green elementary school in county,” Savannah Morning News, October 29, 2008
  31. ^ “Country Day dedicates first green elementary school in county,” Savannah Morning News, October 29, 2008
  32. ^ "Savannah Country Day Students Lend a Hand to Second Harvest,” WSAV-TV, February 3, 2012,
  33. ^ a b
  34. ^ "Academics, Upper School". Savannah Country Day School. Retrieved April 16, 2011. 

External links[edit]