Our History: From Humble Beginnings
Founded in February 1969, Lee Academy began classes in September of that same year with two teachers, two grades, and 16 students. Our basketball practices and games were held at Carver Gym (Highway 79 near the Moro turn off), where in rainy weather, a tractor was frequently needed to pull out vehicles stuck in the mud. But quickly achieving an outstanding reputation of academic excellence, our school was expanded to make room for an increase in enrollment the following year. Thanks to a generous donation of land from W. H. Gerrard in 1971, Lee Academy now has a fine location for all students to learn and grow. That same year, the 27 seniors of the first graduating class received diplomas in a ceremony on the football field. Mrs. Margaret Stubblefield played the marches on the piano in the bed of a pick-up truck. Dr. Jessamine Gist delivered the address.
A Strong Tradition of Athletics
Timely development of a football field allowed the Cougars to play at home, and the addition of lights moved games from afternoon to night. Jimmy Jones, Garland Allen, and Bill Baines were the coaches. To quote the Pawprint (the school's yearbook): "The team's success is the story of a college graduate, a milkman, and a farmer having one of the best coached football teams in the district."
Banners lining the gymnasium walls attest to the early and continuing success of the athletic programs in football, basketball, baseball, and track – despite competition against much larger schools.
Our School Emblem
The senior class of 1976 designed the school's emblem: an overlapping L and A, the symbol that distinguishes the Academy; a cotton boll on the upper right side that proudly represents our agricultural heritage; the center torch that reminds us that it is our honor to keep the flames of education burning; and the word “Marianna,” which holds the center position above the cougar, our mascot, and the symbol of Lee Academy's active athletic program. The rendering of the design, Pride-Honor-Spirit, was done by James Armstrong, a 1976 senior.
Lee Academy students compete successfully in academic contests. In the Mississippi Private School Association's yearly Academic Betterment Competition, Lee Academy students consistently win high placement honors, again doing so against larger academies.
Academic superiority is also reflected in the success Lee Academy students have achieved in institutes of higher learning: student body president, student government officers, and leaders in social organizations. Graduates have also become prominent in all aspects of business, social and international law, in the military, and in a broad range of medical professions.
Lee Academy continues to upgrade its academic programs as well as improve its physical facilities. In the summer of 2003, the school underwent extensive renovations, which included a new computer lab, paving of the parking lot, new elementary restrooms, a renovated kitchen, and the addition of a new baseball field.
Lee Academy maintains its dedication to academic excellence and sports participation through the committed leadership of the school board and administration, the unending encouragement of teachers, the unwavering efforts of parents and grandparents, and the extraordinary support of the community.