Dear SouthLake Christian Families,
Welcome to February, and to Missions Week, a beloved tradition at SouthLake. Missions Week introduces students to God’s work in the world, locally, nationally, and internationally. In addition to tee shirts and spirit wear, we celebrate the week with three school-wide chapel services, each centered on the theme “Let Your Light Shine” from Matthew 5:16. With songs, skits, videos, and guest speakers from the SouthLake community, students enjoy an upbeat worship experience while learning about missions and how we can be a light to those around us. We are livestreaming each chapel service so you can attend or watch online today and Friday at 1:55 p.m. on the SouthLake Media YouTube channel.
I am happy to announce we are expanding. For many months we have operated near our maximum capacity and managed to accumulate dozens of students on wait lists for various grades. In particular, high demand for kindergarten represents our greatest growth potential. Beginning this fall, we will add an additional kindergarten class to SouthLake, and then a first grade class in 2024, a second grade class in 2025, and so forth, in order to keep our class sizes small. This will require us to renovate facilities and build new space. In the short term, we are reviewing a bid to renovate space in Wilcox, turning our library into classrooms and relocating the library closer to the students who use it most. We are also getting bids to clear a wooded area adjacent to the First Building and add a structure for Fine Arts classrooms, freeing up existing space for new classes. These projects will allow us to grow our lower school for the next 4-5 years, and eventually lead us to build a new academic building. We will not need to raise tuition in order to pay for renovations as generous contributions to our Annual Fund in recent years will fund much of the development. We will also continue to work without interruption on our new donor-funded athletic complex. I will have more details in the weeks to come, but let me know if you have any questions.
“Diving Into SouthLake” Podcast
Episode One of our new school podcast drops today. You can find the podcast on the Apple Podcast app, or wherever you access your podcasts. The podcast has been months in the making and I want to thank high school math teacher John Keith Sheridan for his work as producer. We plan to release one episode each month, near the first of the month, from September through May. The first episode chronicles God’s providence to SouthLake through the ups and downs of our history. The podcast represents our latest effort to keep you informed about everything happening at SouthLake, past, present, and future. If you have ideas for an episode, you may email your ideas to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mental and Spiritual Health
Current events often pose a challenge for us as educators, counselors, mentors, coaches, administrators, and ministers. How do we address social issues or concerns that affect different families differently? One event can have little impact on one while being traumatizing to another. As a school and a ministry, we want to be sensitive to student needs while not adding to the social turmoil around us. In this spirit, our School Counselor recently extended an invitation to high school students who may want to talk about the events surrounding the killing of Tyre Nichols and the significant media attention that has generated. Additionally, she is available for one-on-one conversations with students who may have need. I know not every student knows or is directly affected by current events, while some students and their families are deeply disturbed by what they see. We will always do our best to make school a safe place for the conversations students need to have, and a safe place for those who don’t need the conversation.
In closing, let me say how uplifting it was to spend two days listening to students, faculty, staff, and parents talk about SouthLake during interviews for our new school video. I can’t wait to see the finished product when we release our newly redesigned website coming this March. We are not a perfect school, but we are blessed with some amazing people who work tirelessly every day to make this place better for the sake of our students and God’s glory.
Matthew S. Kerlin, Ph.D.
Head of School
SouthLake Christian Academy