Southland Academy fifth graders celebrate Patriots Day
Published 3:30 pm Saturday, December 3, 2016
AMERICUS — The Southland Academy fifth graders celebrated Patriots Day on Nov. 15 attired in period-appropriate dress. Each teacher, parent volunteer, and student wore the typical outfit befitting a person of the colonial times. Marking its third year as a part of the Southland curriculum, the Why America is Free program which evolved from the Values Through History curriculum has been a tremendous asset for the students who have immersed themselves into children of the American Revolution. “It really did feel like we were in the 18th Century,” says Sara Mac Roach.
From the first day, the six-week course unifies the students by showing that all U.S. citizens except Native Americans are immigrants. Students quickly come to see that ownership of our rich national heritage does not depend on when or how we or our ancestors came to this country, making American history much more relevant and meaningful. Through the cross-curricular design of the program, students gain a new appreciation for art and classical music as well as science, math, language, and history. They experience concepts from Charles Willson Peale, John Adams, Kant, George Washington, and so many more historians.
As a result of this curriculum, the students quickly understand how, why, and at what cost our nation was born. When they have completed the course, they understand the 18th Century language, as well as the beliefs and the world views of the founders. They have a firm grasp of the meaning of the U. S. Constitution and Bill of Rights, and of the principles embodied in them. Likewise, they have become aware of the responsibilities they must assume as citizens, and are inspired to do so.
The young masters of the fifth grade attended class with the school master who instructed them in Latin, deportment, and academic rigor. The young mistresses met with the Lady of Refinement learning the language of the fan, deportment, sewing skills, and how to serve tea. Other activities throughout the day included period appropriate games, tinsmithing, and period appropriate crafts. The students and teachers gathered for a lunch of chicken, potatoes, beans, and cornbread served with their freshly made butter, as parents and faculty maintained the 18th Century theme.
In addition to all of the activities throughout the day, the students had a valuable learning experience as Major General Nathaniel Greene visited the campus. Learning about the life of Greene and his friendship with George Washington proved to be interesting as well as educational. The students viewed period-appropriate muskets, tea, maps, writing desks, and flags.
The day culminated with an evening reception in which the students learned more about the events of a typical colonial gathering. They enjoyed refreshments, gained insights of the war, received letters from their loved ones at war, and witnessed a gun salute.
Southland Academy is proud to offer its students the wonderful opportunity of the Why America is Free program. The students were able to see first-hand the benefits of building character, one principle-based decision at a time. They realize that each person has potential for greatness. This combination of respectful behavior, vision of self and others as potentially noble individuals, and a shared ownership of a national heritage quickly builds unity. Rushali Patel declared, “This is one of the experiences I will never forget. I learned a lot about life back then.”