Bethesda Academy Presented Resolutions at Georgia Capitol Honoring
275th Anniversary as Award-Winning Educational Institution for Boys
SAVANNAH, Ga. – Bethesda Academy will celebrate its 275th anniversary this year, a landmark milestone for Savannah’s iconic boarding and day school for boys in grades 6 through 12. To commemorate this meritorious moment in Georgia’s history, Bethesda Academy was honored with two resolutions at the Savannah-Chatham Day celebration last week in Atlanta, Ga.
Bethesda Academy President David Tribble and Bethesda students Phillip Dove, a senior, and Javetti Higgenbottom and Gerald Thomas, both juniors, were recognized on the floor of the Senate by Georgia State Sen. Ben Watson, as well as from the gallery of the House of Representatives by Rep. Mickey Stephens of Georgia House District 165.
“How extraordinary for Bethesda to receive such a distinguished honor from the state and its highly-esteemed representatives,” said Tribble. “It was an emotional moment and we couldn’t be more proud to share our school’s remarkable evolution over the last 275 years.”
To continue the year-long anniversary celebration, Bethesda Academy will host a special evening at its annual Scholarship Gala on May 15, which raises critical scholarship dollars for its students.
Founded in 1740 by Rev. George Whitefield as a home for boys, Bethesda has the distinction of being the oldest child caring institute in America. Located on a lush 650-acre campus overlooking Moon River, just 11 miles from historic downtown Savannah, Bethesda is AdvancEd accredited with 95 percent of its students graduating on time and 87 percent going on to higher education.
This values-laden educational institution has raised the bar when it comes to educating Georgia’s young men, strongly emphasizing George Whitefield’s founding mission to teach “a love for God, a love of learning and a strong work ethic.” Early supporters of the institution include James Habersham, a close friend of George Whitefield, and Benjamin Franklin, one of America’s founding fathers.
“There is a palpable sense of history once you pass beneath the iconic and historic arch at Bethesda’s entrance,” Tribble said. “The campus itself is dotted with original structures and pathways that have withstood the test of time. But more importantly than historic structures, it’s George Whitefield’s legacy that lives on through the remarkable young men who graduate from Bethesda and go into the world as responsible men with unwavering values of spirituality, integrity and accountability.”
Bethesda’s evolution into the thriving and award-winning middle and high school that is today has been marked by many challenges over years, many of which include providing ongoing funding to operate. The school does not receive any state funding to cover the $3.4 million per year it costs to operate and depends largely on private donations, external scholarship programs like the Georgia GOAL Scholarship Program, annual fundraising events, and a collection of on-campus business enterprises that cumulatively help meet the school’s annual budget.
“Older than America by more than three decades, Bethesda Academy stands as Savannah’s most storied educational institution.” Savannah Magazine
The college-preparatory curriculum at Bethesda is specifically designed around the way boys learn most effectively, including a holistic learning environment using a blend of technology, traditional classroom instruction and dynamic work-study program which instills principles of sound business development and management, financial literacy and authentic workplace experience.
“With a chess team currently ranked 9th in nation, alumni playing professional sports and going on to successful careers in business, medicine, video production and acclaimed business leaders, there is no doubt that Bethesda is preparing our boys for success in life,” said John C. Helmken II, board vice-chairman and South State Bank regional executive and executive vice president.
“You learn ‘a love of God, a love of learning, and a strong work ethic’ and it all helps put you together into a person who finds himself.”
“Alumnus from 1987-1990, pre-Academy days. I can say without a doubt Bethesda made a huge difference in my life. I am happy to see how the organization has evolved and look forward to visiting the museum on my next trip to Savannah!”
“My son attended Bethesda for 3 years. He loved it and so did I. He’s a 2016 graduate with honors. Thank you for your dedication.”
“I found my ability to work hands-on – and find that I not only enjoy it, but do it better than most.”
“The learning is totally different. The teachers are a lot more attentive – even more respectful and have more patience.”
“Since I lived in the cottage, it definitely taught me how to take care of myself…and come out of my shell.”
“The key difference between public school and Bethesda is its ‘family’ here.”
“Given the opportunity, these boys will become leaders. To the extent that we can lift these young men above their circumstances, we are helping to equip leaders for our future.
“When people believe in you love you, and support you, you can go far in life. From Dr. Tribble to the dining hall staff, everyone at bethesda provided correction, direction, and guidance. They always cared about me as a person.”
“These people believed in me. They always have. Bethesda has never turned their back on me!”
“Thanks to Bethesda’s supporters I was able to attend a prestigious school like SCAD and now my future looks bright. Without people willing to financially support Bethesda, there would be many young people with a very uncertain future.”
“Bethesda gave me the opportunity to better myself in a solid learning environment.”
“Bethesda is like an extended family. We’re working as a team to give these boys what they need to be successful.”
“The team (2012 Blazers) played with dedication, they played unselfishly, and that’s the way you have to play to be champions.”
“Everyone who works here understands the value of family, and that is what we are at Bethesda, a family.”
“It’s special to have the opportunity to make a daily impact on a young man’s life.”
“I think that all of us who support Bethesda do so for the boys and the wonderful mission of Bethesda. How fortunate we are that the State of GA allows us a tax credit that we can take advantage of through our GOAL Scholarship Program. I write the check, the state reimburses me, and the boys benefit. Wow!”
“Of all my volunteer work, the service to the young men of Bethesda Academy has been the most engaging and meaningful.”
“When thinking about charities to donate to this year, I hope you will consider Bethesda. Your contribution could make such a difference in the life of a child.”
“Bethesda provided my son with a perfect blend of an academic and spiritual education.”
“The success I had at the University of Georgia is due to what I was taught at Bethesda.”
“Bethesda gave me the building blocks to become the person I am today.”
“The same work ethic that is taught in the classroom and in Work Experience is expected on the playing field. I know that if I can be successful in sports through hard work, I can be successful anywhere.”
“My houseparents gave me the freedom to make my own choices, but they held me accountable for those decisions.”
“My teacher tells us that men are judged by the way they work, by what they do, not what they say. I’ll take that philosophy with me when I enter the work world.”
“Bethesda prepared me for college life in both my study habits and my ability to balance school and work.”
“Before I came to Bethesda, I was sometimes embarrassed by my faith. Now I feel more free to practice my love for God.”