Southland Academy 5th-graders celebrate culmination of ‘Why America is Free’

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, December 16, 2015

AMERICUS — The Southland Academy fifth-grade classes have celebrated the culmination of a history-based curriculum, “Why America is Free.” Under the direction of the Southland Academy teachers, administration and staff, the students experienced a six-week, in-depth study into the extraordinary events, times and heroes of the American Revolution as well as the principles and values upon which our country was founded. The curriculum enables the students to simultaneously capture two centuries, the 18th and the present, while at school.  t does so in a way that unifies students, expands minds, generates respect and responsibility, strengthens character, and establishes a lasting curiosity for learning.
Each Southland student transformed himself or herself into a persona of a colonial child of the American Revolution for the finale of the curriculum. The entire school day known as Patriots Day celebrated the life and times of a student during the American Revolution. Along with the teachers and administration, the parent leadership team under the direction of Melanie Weaver helped create an 18th Century atmosphere in which each student could live the life of a young colonist while at Southland Academy. Dressed in colonial attire, students experienced a variety of activities such as making butter, tinsmithing, and colonial games and crafts. The young masters had the opportunity to meet with the school master who educated them in deportment, gentlemen responsibilities, as well as academics. The Lady of Refinement helped the young mistresses with the etiquette of the fan, the etiquette of tea, and mending.
According to student Lauren Duke, “That day I thought I was a real colonial child.”
The students and teachers gathered for a lunch of chicken, potatoes, beans and cornbread served with their fresh butter, as parents and faculty maintained the 18th Century theme. The afternoon events concluded with special guest, “Martha Washington,” visiting with the young colonists sharing the story of her life with George Washington.
All in colonial dress, students, volunteer parents, teachers, administrators, and representatives from the Americus Chapter of the Colonial Dames gathered just past candlelight for the evening celebration. The students honored the heroes of the Revolution and learned the fate of a Continental soldier as well as those who signed the Declaration of Independence. The military gun salute, the horses, the lanterns, and the beautiful home of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Hall set the stage for a very authentic colonial evening.
Southland students were given this opportunity to study the hands on curriculum thanks to the Americus Town Committee of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America, Georgia Society who provided the “Why America is Free” resources.
Lower School Director, Laura Kinslow remarked, “Our students are very blessed to have been able not only to experience this remarkable curriculum but also to immerse themselves into their own heritage while having fun in the learning process. The impact of this program will have resounding effects on our students as they continue their educations. They have gained a respect and appreciation of how this country developed, and now they feel a stronger connection to our ancestors and can bring this sense of legacy to the present.”
Southland fifth grader Will Reeves describes his experience: “Colonial Day is the best day ever. I learned how to make butter and write in Latin. I made an ornament with a hammer. We also got letters from our family members off in war. We went to Great Hall Plantation to talk about the war. It was a great experience.”
Classmate Lily Haugabook recounts, “For Patriots Day we dressed up and pretended to be colonial children. I say we were pretending but it felt absolutely real! It was so fun and entertaining, but I also learned a lot from it. I’d do it again if I could. It was a great experience!”