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Leaders in education: South ranked 15th

By Denebola
Published: February 2011

By Mark Woodlief,
Volume 23
January 25, 1984

Newton South began the fateful 1984 with good news – the school earned a ranking in Parade magazine among the top fifteen public high schools in the nation.
Souh was praised for some of its unique programs, including the English-as-a-second-language program, the life-skill center, and the “outstanding” theater arts department.
The school’s high percentage of college-bound students was also cited, as well as the nursery school run by the home economics department.
The Parade list was greeted with warm, but often confused reaction at South. Many members of the South community “wonder how (the list) was arrived at,” said South Principal Ernest Seasholes.
Making this kind of a survey is “not an absolutely precise thing,” Seasholes said. “It’s not a clear thing like an athletic contest. There’s a judgment call involved.”
Most people agree being on the list is a positive thing. “It’s a good shot in the arm for morale,” Seasholes remarked.
While pleased to be on the list, Seasholes claimed the article left out a lot of the other excellent programs South has to offer.
“We have a strong Advanced Placement program that kids have done very well in,” Seasholes stated.
He mentioned the six-languages-strong Foreign Language Department, Athletics, Enrichment Program, and guidance Department as important offerings left out of the Parade article.
Student reaction to the list was mixed. Senior Class President Paul Sherman said, “I was kind of surprised by it. I don’t think [South] is a high-spirited place – a ‘complete’ high school.”
Another student quipped, “If South is the best in the country, I’d like to see how bad the rest of the country is.”
Sophomore Ilir Topalli was happy over the list. “It was great,” he said.
“I’m glad to be at South.”Perry Fergus, a junior, commented, “I love it. That’s a big accomplishment. I think we do pretty good.”

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