A Mother’s Love....
A mother’s love and concern for her children.
That’s how Bulloch Academy, the only non-parochial independent school in Bulloch County, began 50 years ago.
In the summer of 1971, Connie Averitt had three children who would be in three different schools when the new school year began. A close-knit trio, she was worried that they would miss the security of being together. She was also concerned about the logistics of transporting her children to three different locations daily. Averitt began contacting a group of other parents about her concerns and found out that they too shared her feelings.
They wanted a different educational experience for their children, where they could grow and learn at “one school,” together.
Averitt and her husband Hal contacted Mr. Joseph Franklin about renting the old Westside School building that was just west of Statesboro. Franklin agreed to rent the facilities and the fledgling school now had a location.
With the location decided, more progress began to take place. Legal transactions of setting the school in order as a fully incorporated, non-discriminatory, non-profit institution were then completed. This corporation, Bulloch Academy, Inc., was set up with the following intention:
“The corporation is organized and shall be operated exclusively for charitable eleemosynary and educational purposes in the education of children and adults and the establishment and operation of non-sectarian kindergarten, elementary and secondary and other schools below the college level.”
Statesboro attorney Sam Brannen set his approval on the Articles of Incorporation and filed the documentation in the office of the Secretary of State on August 6, 1971. Bulloch Academy was then granted a charter from Ben W. Fortson, Secretary of State of the State of Georgia, on that date for “a period of perpetual years.” The initial Board of Directors was named from the parents of the school. An Advisory Board was also established and made up of parents of the school and community leaders.
Registration for the school, which would initially house grades 1-6, soon began. After the classes were filled, teachers were hired. There were six academic classroom teachers along with teachers of the extracurricular courses of art, music, and French.
Every phase of the school program moved along smoothly. On Sept. 1, 1971, an Open House was held. The parents, teachers, board members, and students, along with community leaders and friends from other communities, met to hear Connie Averitt, who had been named Chairman of the Board, announce that school would indeed open on the next day.
The original staff of the school consisted of six teachers, Mrs. Gene Mack Brown, Mrs. Mary Beth Nessmith, Miss Priscilla Olliff, Mr. Fred M. Page, Jr., Mrs. Nancy N. Sapp, and Mrs. Sylvia Anne Yawn. According to a school-wide portrait which was taken, there were 122 students.
The founding parents of the school were Mr. and Mrs. William M. Anderson Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Ansley, Mr. and Mrs. David Averitt, Mr. and Mrs. William P. Bland Jr., Mr. and Mrs. James M. Blitch, Mr. and Mrs. James Aulbert Brannen, Mr. and Mrs. Fred D. Grist, Mr. and Mrs. Chester A. Hanberry, Mr. and Mrs. William A. Hatcher, Mr. and Mrs. Fred W. Hodges, Mr. and Mrs. J. Lemuel Nevil, Mr. and Mrs. Freeman R. O’Neal Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. Sterling E. Skinner.
The inaugural year went well but a number of things had to be considered at the close of the school term. First, it had to be decided if Bulloch Academy would still be located in the same place and secondly, what was to happen to those students in the sixth grade?
An unsuccessful attempt was made to purchase the Westside School building, after which the Board of Directors purchased a 40-acre tract of land between Westside Road and Pulaski Highway to begin construction of a school. The second item of concern was solved when the decision was made to add a grade to the school each year to insure that the needs of all students would be met.
In the fall of 1972, Bulloch Academy moved into its new facility and the school’s first headmaster, J. Rife English, was hired.
As the school expanded toward a full high-school program, the need for additional facilities became a priority. In the fall of 1976, the Academy’s Upper School complex was completed and consisted of an office area, a library, seven classrooms, a weight room, a physical education dressing room, and an art room, all of which were built around a gymnasium.
In 1978, Bulloch Academy’s first graduating class of eight students walked down the aisles of a school that began as the dream of one mother who wanted something different for her children.
In 1998, plans were put in motion for a nearly $2 million building project which included a six-classroom addition to the lower school, a new gymnasium, a state-of-the-art media center, an athletic fieldhouse, and other major renovations.
In 2009, a three-room science laboratory was developed and built in the upper-school for use by middle and high-school students.
Today, the 600+ student school houses pre-kindergarten, which is funded by the Georgia Lottery, through 12th grade in three buildings: the Kindergarten Wing (pre-kindergarten and kindergarten), the Lower School (grades 1-5), and the Upper School (grades 6-12).
Bulloch Academy received accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) in 2002, which was renewed in 2006 when the Academy also received accreditation from the Southern Association of Independent Schools (SAIS).
The goal of the Academy is to provide a safe, nurturing, and stimulating environment in which students from Bulloch and neighboring counties can realize their individual potential to the fullest in their academic preparation for college and their development of social skills and values. Advanced academic opportunities, coupled with a friendly, small-school environment, make Bulloch Academy a great place for children to learn and grow.