Boarding students benefit tremendously from the skills and friendships they acquire through communal living and their relationships with cottage staff. Typically, there are ten to twelve boys in each cottage, along with a married couple who serve as cottage teachers and are professionally trained to work with adolescent young men in a boarding environment. Most of Bethesda’s cottage teachers also have children of their own who reside in the cottage, contributing to the family-like atmosphere.
From Sunday evening until Friday afternoon, Bethesda Academy’s cottage teachers provide a structured environment that fosters personal responsibility and independent living skills that are critical to continued success in a college or university. Students are regularly assigned household tasks, study hours are observed and cottage teachers work closely with faculty members to address academic performance issues. Cottage teachers at Bethesda in no way are meant to replace a student’s own parents, but it is their goal to make life in the cottage feel as much like family life as possible. The involvement of each family is encouraged and, in fact, critical to the effectiveness of the program.
However, life at Bethesda is hardly all work and no play! Cottages regularly plan recreational activities on campus and within the Savannah community. Friendly cottage-to-cottage competitions abound as boys’ natural sense of competition develops into a strong loyalty to cottage mates and cottage teachers.
Students enjoy breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily, served communally in the dining hall. Snacks are provided within the cottages. Cottage teachers periodically cook meals within the cottages and include student in preparing and serving the meal as well as clean-up.
“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.”