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Southland Academy: providing excellence for almost a half-century

AMERICUS — Southland Academy prides itself on its commitment to excellence, not only in its academic accomplishments, but also the personal growth of its college-bound students. The institution provides an education that surpasses the basic core of academics and truly meets the needs of every student who attends the school.
Almost 50 years ago, Southland Academy was founded on values of high educational standards, Christian principles, family involvement and individual-focused small class settings. These values continue to guide the institution each and every day. The school leadership doesn’t focus solely on the academic side of education. Instead they integrate focused teaching into an education that maximizes the unique potential of every student.
“At Southland Academy we know the value of providing the best education imaginable for every student who walks through our doors,” said Ty Kinslow, headmaster. “It is our goal to educate the whole person as we are dedicated to the intellectual, cultural, moral, physical and social growth of our students. Southland Academy is a community where everyone matters, a family where everyone has a name and a voice. An education enriches the life of every student in every way possible.

Dr. Douglas R. Joyner of Americus was featured speaker at the annual Salute to Veterans program hosted by the Lower School at Southland Academy.

Dr. Douglas R. Joyner of Americus was featured speaker at the annual Salute to Veterans program hosted by the Lower School at Southland Academy.

Christmas is the season for giving. Southland students took that statement to heart in 2014. They found many opportunities to help those less fortunate and be cheerful givers this holiday season. Many helped the Girl Talk students provide Christmas gifts for 10 foster children. Some supported SGA and the Georgia State Patrol with ‘Toys for Tots,’ and others gave to the Key Club-sponsored can food drive. Shown from left are representatives of some of these projects, Pyne Greene, Cason Fort, Riley Daniels, Trevor Law and Ryan Weaver.

Christmas is the season for giving. Southland students took that statement to heart in 2014. They found many opportunities to help those less fortunate and be cheerful givers this holiday season. Many helped the Girl Talk students provide Christmas gifts for 10 foster children. Some supported SGA and the Georgia State Patrol with ‘Toys for Tots,’ and others gave to the Key Club-sponsored can food drive. Shown from left are representatives of some of these projects, Pyne Greene, Cason Fort, Riley Daniels, Trevor Law and Ryan Weaver.

“For the Southland family, the education our school provides is designed to prepare students for the challenges and rigors that await them. Education is about preparing them for greatness. We believe that every student is unique in his or her own right and the impact that he or she will have on the world can be shaped today at our school.
“We are Southland Academy, and we exist to prepare our students for lives of purpose,” he said.
Continuing to uphold the school motto, “Committed to Excellence,” Southland Academy students continue to strive for and achieve success. Excellence is a continuous process; it is not an accident. Therefore, at Southland, students set goals, work hard, and celebrate their accomplishments. It is with self-discipline, guided instruction, faculty support, and a desire to excel in academics and athletics that Southland students from K3-12th grade humbly represent their families, their school, and their community with dignity.
Southland Academy is proud that 19 percent of the graduating class has received early acceptance to the University of Georgia.  Likewise, a senior will attend the Ivy League School, Columbia University in the fall. Southland is extremely honored to announce that it has a National Merit Commended Student.
At present, the school has had five athletic signings for students to play at the collegiate level. The Southland Academy boys’ cross country team is the GISA AAA State Champion for the third consecutive year. Likewise, the boys’ swim team earned the GISA AAA State Championship title for the third consecutive year.
The Raider Band continues to entertain crowds not only at ballgames but also as part of community parades. Two Southland cheerleaders had the privilege of participating in the New Year’s Day parade in London.
Southland students have also earned individual awards, such as a  GISA AAA State Champion in personal essay. One of Southland’s  students is the Congressional Essay National Winner, who has the opportunity to attend the annual conference in Washington, D.C.,  in June. Also, the school boasts a GISA AAA State Champion wrestler. Moving to the stage, a Southland student holds a Best Actor award in the GISA AAA Region One Act Play.
Southland students are diverse. From the classroom, to the athletic arena, to the stage, to the community and beyond, Southland students are well-rounded and prepared for the next phase in their lives.
Southland Academy is pleased to have added more Promethean Boards to the classrooms. The interactive technology board is an excellent hands-on resource for teachers and students. The lower and middle school students enjoy the addition of Spanish to the curriculum. The school is very excited to have implemented STEM into its syllabus. STEM is a way of thinking about how science, technology, engineering, and math are integrated into a curriculum allowing students to explore and investigate stimulating their minds to learn different disciplines in different contexts.
Southland is also host to community organizations such as the 4-H Horse Charter Club and Girl Scouts.
The faculty and staff have always regarded student safety as a priority. With this in mind, the faculty regularly participates in safety drills. Southland’s desire is to provide a safe environment for students to learn and grow; therefore, teachers are diligent in being prepared to help protect students. Southland’s teachers attend CPR and First Aid workshops as well as an Epi-Pen workshop.
“While there is no exception to the basic rigor of education, Southland is motivated to help students experience a variety of avenues which will help them to determine their aspirations for education beyond high school and into their adult lives,” said Kinslow.
“Southland Academy continues to offer off-campus field trips for our students. The fourth graders take an overnight trip to Chehaw in Albany. The fifth graders spend two days at Rock Eagle in Eatonton. The middle school students enjoy an overnight stay at Jekyll Island, and the seventh graders are elated with their five-day trip to the nation’s capital in Washington, D.C.”
There are also day trips: to the state capitol in Atlanta, the Engineering Day at Six Flags, the National Infantry Museum in Columbus, Jimmy Carter’s hometown of Plains, The Springer Opera House, and the local retirement facilities offer Southland students a hands-on experience of learning about their community and state. Not only do Southland students enjoy academic enrichment with day trips to Georgia Southwestern State University, but also they are eager to participate in local academic bowls at the university.
Southland Academy encourages its students to be strong supporters of their community. With the students’ participation in Chamber Champions, the seniors Career Interest Program with local business men and women, the Raiders Reaching Out Community Service program, and the Red Cross blood drives held on Southland’s campus, students have a greater appreciation and compassion for their community and for each other.
Southland Academy remains an established academic institution in Americus, with its dedicated faculty, staff and administration.
“We are a hard working team who has a passion for young people in helping them to grow and mature into productive citizens for our community and for the communities in which they will live as adults,” Kinslow said.
Always wanting to be current in academic trends and to increase the quality of education, Southland provides professional development workshops for its teachers.
Southland is also excited about the newly reorganized parent group, Family Active Network (FANS) for Southland. FANS is a remarkable resource for its students and parents committed to community building and enrichment for Southland Academy.
Southland Academy has an outstanding resume of students’ academic successes, athletic successes, literary successes, community involvement, and alumni professional successes. Of course, all of the successes do not come without challenges.  However, Southland’s leadership believes that educating the “whole child” isn’t just a buzzword.
“We live out our mission by offering strong, balanced programs in academics, arts, athletics, and spirituality that allow our students to find their passions and give back to the world,” Kinslow said.
Southland Academy has been offering a valuable education in this community for over 49 years, and their desire is to continue to help educate young minds into responsible and productive citizens. In the words of President John F. Kennedy, “Let us think of education as the means of developing our greatest abilities, because in each of us there is a private hope and dream which, fulfilled, can be translated into benefit for everyone and greater strength for our nation.”