Students in6th, 7th and 8th grade at Southside Christian school will be starting classes at a new building at Amelia Christian Church in the fall, when Southside begins to offer classes to highschoolers.
CLAYTON -- A local Christian school will be adding a high school for its 2013-2014 year.
Southside Christian School, located on Carlton Street, off Winston Road, will add a grade each year. The school currently offers Pre-Kindergarten through 8th grade classes. Starting in the Fall, it will include ninth grade. The following year it will go up to tenth, and will continue to add a grade each year until it reaches 12th grade.
School administrator Jenene Davis said she is excited for the students to get to stay with their classmates and move up to high school together.
Southside is partnering with Amelia Christian Church to serve the new grades. Classes for 7th, 8th, and 9th graders will be held at Amelia Christian Church, about three miles away on Amelia Church Road.
At its meeting last week, the planning board approved the expansion of the school to serve a maximum of 70 students. The 7th and 8th grade classes currently have 12 students each. The 8th grade has eight, making a total of 32 students to start in the new building in the Fall. The students will go off-site for P.E. classes each day.
Davis said Southside is far from being a school just for the members of the church it is connected to.
“We have over 40 churches represented,” said Davis. “We are definitely community minded.”
“It will be tricky at first,” said Delaney Jewett, 13, who is in 8th grade at Southside. Last week, Jewett sat in a classroom filled with her peers, students she has known for the past three years at the school. Since the classes are small, there is a familial quality to the classes.
Jewett said since she has gone to Southside for three years, it will take some time to adjust to the new building, but she’s excited to get to be with her friends. Jewett will be in the high school’s first graduating class, the class of 2017.
Southside was started in 2006 after a group of parents who were members at the church decided they wanted to make it possible for their children to have a Christian education.
In its first year, the school served 14 students in kindergarten and first grade. The following year, the school served 36 students in grades K-5. It has continued to grow each year, and currently serves 140 students.
The school focuses on academics more than a lot of other Christian schools, according to Davis. But Christian values are also interwoven in the classes, and provide the backdrop for the lessons.
“The Bible is the focus of what we do,” said Davis. “In our science classes we teach them that God created the world.” The school also teaches the students how to reason, said Davis, which is a skill the Bible says is important to be able to do.
Each class has a local mission or charity that it supports through volunteerism and fundraising. Some of the charities supported include the Raleigh Rescue Mission, Lawndale Manor, and the I Choose Pregnancy Center.
The school is currently going through an accreditation process through the Association of Christian Schools, and will learn in March if it has completed the accreditation. The accreditation shows how the school compares to other Christian schools in its spiritual training and in its academic classes.