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Why America Is Free
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Tuesday, December 01, 2020
The Southland Academy Fifth Grade Class Celebrates Patriots Day as part of the Why America Is Free curriculum.
The Southland Academy Fifth Grade Class Celebrates Patriots Day as part of the Why America Is Free curriculum.

Southland Academy Fifth Grade Celebrates the Colonial Period

November, 2020

     With the combined efforts of the Americus Town Committee of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America, Georgia Society, the Southland Academy faculty and staff, and the volunteers under the leadership of Lydia Ann Fowler and Becky Pryor, Southland Academy was able to provide a special Patriots Day Celebration for the Southland fifth grade students. The 2020 Patriots Day Celebration was as unique as the year itself with face coverings and social distancing. However, the academic fun was not hindered by the unique circumstances. The Why America Is Free Patriots Day was a wonderful experience.

     The Southland Academy fifth grade students were recently transported back into the 18th Century. Completely immersed into the Colonial Period, the students are not just reading about Colonial America, they become Patriot children in the midst of the American Revolution and participate in a reenactment celebration of American history. Patriots Day is the celebration of the culmination of the six week in-depth study of the extraordinary events, times, heroes, and culture of the American Revolution as well as the principles and values which are the foundation of our country. The Why America is Free curriculum enables the students to experience two centuries simultaneously. While dressed in attire befitting the Colonial period, students, faculty, and volunteers join the hands on experience of butter making, metal working, candle making, participating in games, as well as making unique crafts. Likewise, the fifth grade “colonists” savored the authentic lunch and snacks served throughout the celebration. All of the students enjoyed the daily activities and especially liked the period relevant blacksmith demonstration by Mr. Allen Gaskill. Referencing Patriots Day, fifth grader Charlie Kellam said that there are many reasons he liked Colonial Day, “We watched a blacksmith, made drums, and we learned about a horse.” Dr. Patty Fennessy graciously brought a pony, K.C. The students learned about a horse’s role during the war, and they were able to give carrots to K.C.

     At the onset of the curriculum, each student created a Colonial persona. During the Patriots Day celebration, the students lived the lives of their personas. The young mistresses learned the art of pouring tea, mending clothes, and the language of the fan. The young masters became skilled in deportment, gentleman responsibilities, and academic rigor particularly in Latin and mathematics. The celebration of Patriots Day is so much more than the facts and figures of a textbook. This day literally makes history come to life for our students. Lanier Yeiser said, “My favorite part of Patriots Day was getting to make dolls and candles. I found myself having a great time in the 1700’s.” Luke Miller felt “the authenticity was great.” Sadie Lopez-Carranza also enjoyed many of the activities, but she said, “I also enjoyed the dance. It was a little tricky but it was a lot of fun.”

     Southland Academy is proud to offer our students the wonderful opportunity of the Why America is Free program. With grateful appreciation to the Americus Town Committee of The National Society of The Colonial Dames of America, Georgia Society, Southland 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.

     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.

     Miller Anne Pryor summarizes the event very well, “I was so glad that we were able to have Why America is Free Patriots Day especially because of COVID-19. My favorite part of the whole day was when we made candles. It was really hard for me to choose what was my favorite activity because I liked the whole day. I had so much fun being a Colonial child.”




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