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What's it like to be 25 years old in 2015?  Emily Jones has all the answers.

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  DSC_3192 What does it take to groom a new generation of model citizens?  As we approach Mother’s and Father’s days, supermom Hannah Black makes a play date with local parents. Photography by Kelli Boyd and Christine Hall Working and studying full-time is a challenge.  Between my job, my professors and my internship at this magazine, sometimes I feel like I have six bosses.  And please, don’t get me started on the woes of single life.  But add a 7-year-old boy with the energy of a college football team to the mix and I’m surprised I haven’t checked into Georgia Regional. With Mother’s Day and Father’s Day on the horizon, we Savannah magazine mamas got to thinking about parenting.  How do we and other local parents raise happy, healthy Savannahians?  Does it really matter that our children only eat Cheerios and Cheez-Its?  (I mean, as long as they’re eating, right?)  And what does the phrase “family values” really mean? We asked local photographers Kelli Boyd and Christine Hall to share their favorite moments from years of portraiture.  Then we got the behind-the-scenes stories from the parents themselves.  Along the way, I learned a thing or two about what the city has to offer its children—and made a few new friends in the process.   [caption id="attachment_15158" align="aligncenter" width="576"]roberts family After a muddy marsh adventure, Slaton Roberts, 4, and his brother Lawton, 3, sit with their new-found treasures.[/caption]   “An afternoon boat ride is a family favorite,” Jessica Roberts observes. “And we try to spend as much time as possible with our children, instilling core values with regard to God, family and the community.” This family closeness is contagious, it seems. “While looking at our wedding photo, Slaton was upset that he wasn’t there with us to celebrate our wedding,” Jessica recalls.  “He has asked us to get married again so he could come.” [caption id="attachment_15159" align="aligncenter" width="576"]McCallister family Grace and Steven McAllister cuddle Leila Emily, 7 months, in Pulaski Square.[/caption] “Family values are a combination of religion, love and togetherness,” Grace observes. “Sunday night dinners with the entire family are a tradition that we hope our child will carry on.  With a large family, it can be crazy at times, but it’s always a wonderful way to start the week!” Though little Leila is still young, she knows how to be heard above the fray. “Leila isn’t ‘talking’ at seven months,” Grace laughs.  “She has, however, mastered a fake cough if she feels like we should be paying closer attention to her.” So what does it take to raise a good Savannahian? “A love of God, a love of the water and a unique Southern style.” [caption id="attachment_15160" align="aligncenter" width="576"]cook family Will, 11, and Carson Cook, 9, learn how to be true Savannahians.[/caption]   “My mom used to tell me that there isn’t a manual on how to raise children,” recalls Paige Cook, mother of Will and Carson.  “As a child, I would always roll my eyes at her.  Now I know exactly what she meant.  We just do the best we can and instill in them the moral values we believe are important.” Paige discourages lip-smacking and negative talk at the dinner table.  She and her husband, Chris, have taken classes on the appropriate uses and safety measures for technology.  And she makes sure to lie down with the kids each evening to talk through the day. “To raise a good Savannahian, you must teach them to be personable, well-mannered and a true lover of the water,” she observes.  “My husband has done such a great job of teaching the boys the proper ways to hunt and fish—and, most important, to drive a boat.” [caption id="attachment_15161" align="aligncenter" width="576"]Tonson Marquis Toson and Jillian Schlake-Toson take their first family portrait with Atticus, 9 months.[/caption] “The most important thing we have to teach our child is to be confident and have a strong sense of self,” says Jillian.  “We want to teach him to respect others as well as himself.” That respect extends to the Savannah community at large. “He’s discovering new things every day and our city is a great place to explore,” observes Jillian, who cites “Forsyth Park and the fabulous squares” as her favorite places to hang out as a family. “We want our son to grow up with a balance of respect and pride for the city’s long-standing traditions and culture—embracing its evolution without losing the character of Savannah itself.” For the Tosons, evolution is an important part of appreciation. “We’ll explain that social issues exist here but we, as individuals and as a family, have the ability to change things with simple actions and thoughts.” Books are another part of that plan. “Reading aloud is a family tradition that promotes togetherness and allows us to slow down and interact.” [caption id="attachment_15162" align="aligncenter" width="576"]DSC_8703 Viviana Georgescu dances in the sand with Isabella, 6.[/caption] “I express the beauty and strength in being ethnically and racially different,” says Viviana, the mother of Michael, 14, Kevin, 11, and Isabella, 6. It’s a lesson she continues at the dinner table. “I emphasize that food is a part of being culturally educated and insist on everyone trying what is being served. I hope to teach my kids empathy, and that they will carry on Latin traditions.” [caption id="attachment_15163" align="aligncenter" width="576"]peters Walker Peters, 6, skips rocks into the river.[/caption] When it comes to parenting, Kristin Peters likes to keep things casual. “However, we do not allow potty talk at the dinner table or for the television to be on.  Our children must stay seated until they are finished eating, and they must try at least one bite of everything.” Rules aside, for Kristin, husband Chris, and children Walker and Kate, family values are about “honesty, kindness and quality family time.  Our favorite way to unwind is to spend the day on the boat together, and we love to take the kids out to Wassaw Island.” [caption id="attachment_15164" align="aligncenter" width="576"]_CHP5721 Kevin Iocovozzi, Emma, 25, Judy, 23, wife Kim and son Seve, 20, surround Oliver, the four-legged family member.[/caption]   Two years ago, Kim Iocovozzi’s family gave her a Christine Hall photo shoot as a Christmas gift. “It’s almost impossible to get us all together at the same time, so this was very special to me,” recalls Kim, who has put plenty of thought into raising good Savannahians. “Instead of explaining social issues to my children, I think it’s more important to actually engage them,” she observes.  “To help my children understand diversity and social issues in Savannah, I sent them to public school.  There, they befriended children of many social and economic backgrounds, and this made them well-rounded adults.” [caption id="attachment_15165" align="aligncenter" width="576"]lino1 Jackson Lino, 2, takes flight at Tybee with the help of his father, Brandon.[/caption]   Who says you have to compromise?  When it comes to parenting a finicky child, Adrienne Lino puts her foot down. “We’ve never been the parents to make special meals for each person eating,” she explains.  “We make dinner and that’s what you have or you don’t eat.” This approach comes in handy at the extended family’s monthly group birthday parties, a tradition Adrienne hopes Jackson will pass on to his children. She also stresses kindness. “I want to teach him to treat people equally no matter the circumstance,” she muses, “to always treat a lady with the same respect he would give his mother.  And he’ll have to learn that people make mistakes and you should always grant forgiveness.” [caption id="attachment_15166" align="aligncenter" width="576"]_CHP6320 Tyler Rominger lounges on the deck with her daughter, Evangeline, 6.[/caption] “It’s so important to teach your children to like and respect themselves, to accept disappointment and move on, and to cook,” observes Tyler Rominger, mother of Porter and Evangeline.  “I think kids need to learn to be self-sufficient.” For her daughters, Tyler has one simple rule: “Never, ever chase a boy.  Ever.” Married to a native Savannahian, Tyler leaves some of the instruction up to her husband, McLeod. “He remembers running around Tomochichi’s rock when he was little, so he loves taking the girls there,” Tyler replies. “Apparently you run around this rock chanting something?*  Then he is supposed to answer?  They think it’s great.” “I’m not from here,” she shrugs, “I don’t really get it.” *According to a local legend, if you run around the Yamacraw chief’s monument and ask, “Tomochichi, Tomochichi, where are you?” you will hear the rock reply, “Nowhere,” because his bones have been scattered and lost. [caption id="attachment_15167" align="aligncenter" width="576"]Dyer Family Mac, 5, and Mary Walton Dyer, 4, bond with their new siblings, twins Ruby and Brooks, 3 months.[/caption]   Meredith and Andy Dyer have their hands full with four children under the age of 6, so the occasional electronic distraction is a yes, not a no-no. “At this point in our lives, especially since the birth of our twins, pretty much anything goes if it will make the older children sit at the table and eat their dinner!” Meredith laughs.  “I’m a fairly liberal parent when it comes to technology.” All the same, she draws the line at gaming systems. “I don’t want them getting ‘hooked.’  They need to go outside and run and play.” When they do, Meredith sets a few basic limits on her children’s attire. “I don’t like little boys—or men for that matter—in tank tops or jorts,” she chuckles.  “And for Mary Walton, where do I start?  Short shorts, anything with writing across the bottom and anything with too much glitter.  A little glitter goes a long way, in my opinion.” Compassion is the virtue Meredith most wants to encourage in her children, but her Mother’s Day wish is simple. “I’d love to get away with Andy,” she confesses.  “Life has been crazy since the twins were born and we haven’t had many date nights.” [caption id="attachment_15168" align="aligncenter" width="576"]IMG_9703a Whit Watson, now 9 but pictured at age 4, plays on the dock with his dad, Justin.[/caption]   “I mostly find myself saying, ‘Use your napkin, not your shirt,’” jokes Winslett Watson, but her real lessons go far deeper than that.  “We will try to raise our boys to be men of character: the sort of men we respect when we meet them in our daily life.  We want them to enjoy long meaningful friendships, to live with purpose and passion.” When it comes to raising a good Savannahian, Winslett, the mother of Whit, 9, and Haddon, 10, says it’s all about balance. “We want to instill in our boys an appreciation for our Southern roots and traditions and, at the same time, raise them to be advocates of progress.” For Mother’s Day, she’s looking forward to “breakfast in bed, followed by snuggles and a boat trip to a barrier island.” [caption id="attachment_15169" align="aligncenter" width="576"]woo family Kent and Danielle Woo entertain Kameron, 9 months.[/caption] “We are always playing—trying to make Kam smile,” laughs Danielle. This new mother is still inventing family traditions, but she already has her sights set on raising a Savannah gentleman.  To make that happen, she has a few simple rules in mind. “No television or toys at the dinner table,” she lists.  “No hats indoors.  Being a gentleman is about good manners and treating others with respect.” For now, though, most of her family time is spent in outdoor activities, exposing Kam to the wonders of life in the Garden. “Forsyth Park is our favorite spot to play, and the Burnside River holds so many fabulous memories for our family.  We love long walks together and plan to take advantage of all of the water-related activities Savannah has to offer.” [caption id="attachment_15170" align="aligncenter" width="384"]Greco family Lindsay and Blake Greco steal a kiss during a family portrait with Sloan, 3, and Burke, 6 months.[/caption] Outings are an important part of the Greco household. “Sloan is a big animal lover, so we often go to Oatland Island, her favorite place,” says Lindsay.  “And it doesn’t get much better than going the Crab Shack to feed some alligators.” Other than an appreciation for the natural world, Lindsay believes “impeccable manners, a quick wit and compassion for others” are what it takes to raise a good Savannahian. “‘Please’ and ‘thank you’ are paramount in our home,” she declares. And young Sloan’s sense of humor is blooming early. “When we gave her a watch, I asked her for the time.  Without hesitation, she looked at her wrist and said, ‘Time for you to give me some candy.’” Of course, compassion is the most important virtue in this history-haunted city. “We have a zero-tolerance policy for any sort of discrimination in our home,” Lindsay emphasizes.  “We stress the importance of compassion and acceptance regardless of race, socioeconomic status, gender or sexual orientation.  We hope that our children will speak up for those who cannot speak up for themselves.” [caption id="attachment_15171" align="aligncenter" width="576"]helen kids Helen Williams Johnson relaxes on the dock with Dudley, 11, and Warner, 9.[/caption]   “I could go on and on,” laughs Helen as she begins to list the family traditions she hopes her children will carry on.  “Chili and carols on the 23rd of December with the Threlkeld side of the family.  Easter egg hunts at Wild Acres with the Williams side of the family. Fourth of July and fireworks at Tybee with their grandparents.” And then there are the traditions of hard work, civic duty and kindness, which Helen counts as family values. “I just hope that I can give my children an inkling of what my parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles have taught me.” Watching our children make mistakes can be hard, but Helen knows that sometimes it’s the only way. “You have to give your kids the skills to deal with life lessons, no matter how hard it is to take a back seat as a parent.  They may not make the right decisions at first, but they will learn.” [caption id="attachment_15172" align="aligncenter" width="576"]Thompson1 Lena Thompson, 5, and Peter, 8, kiss sibling rivalry goodbye.[/caption]   “The parks downtown are a definite favorite,” laughs Lindsay Thompson, as her two children play in a Savannah square. “Selfishly, I hope they carry on the tradition of living in Savannah.  And no blue and orange!  Georgia fans will understand.”  Of course, the kids are developing their own sartorial opinions. “Just the other day, they told me they’re glad I don’t wear mom jeans.” [caption id="attachment_15173" align="aligncenter" width="576"]DSC_3134 Darius, 7, and I take a moment out of our busy schedules.[/caption] As for me, I want my son to know that, contrary to popular opinion, chivalry is not dead.  I want him to know that opening doors for ladies and pulling out their seats for them are the actions of a real man. In my house, I don’t allow electronics at the table.  I tell Darius that the great super heroes ate all the things he doesn’t like in order to grow big and strong.  It only works 50 percent of the time, but at least it gets him eating his vegetables. Above all, I want to teach him that life may throw every obstacle in his way, but—no matter what—he can’t give up.  Regardless of skin color or social status, everyone puts their pants on the same way. That’s advice any Savannahian worth his sea salt can live by.

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This beautiful weather makes it seem impossibly cruel to keep our furry family members indoors—and fortunately, we don’t have to.  Fido fan Eric Zimmerman and his pooches, Ollie B. and Abbie, travel the world to promote their Savannah-made Oliver Bentley’s gourmet dog biscuits, but they give Savannah four paws up for canine hospitality.  We asked Eric to grab a leash and lead the way through dog-friendly Savannah.  Photography by Katie McGee   If you’re like many of us with a dog in the family, you know about those sad eyes: the ones that follow us when we leave home without them.  There’s really only one cure for sad eyes, and that’s to bring your pup with you every chance you get.  Fortunately, Savannah makes it easier than you might think to have a happy dog day. Start by exploring the Historic District’s green spaces.  At first glance, our 22 picturesque squares may seem too pristine and proper for your barking buddy, but look again.  Take notice of the wonderfully handy doggie waste receptacles the city has installed just for you and your pup. Buried in the ground at the entrances to most downtown squares, you’ll spot a curious, green metal lid with a white stencil of a dog on it.  It looks like a small submarine hatch, but it’s actually a subterranean trash can.  Open it by pressing on the pedal with your foot, and—presto—you can deposit what Fido left behind and continue on your downtown journey. There are even doggie water fountains—two in Forsyth Park (one north and one south of the Forsyth Fountain), one in Troup Square and one in Ellis Square—built at nose level, just perfect for your pup to grab a quick drink.  And you’ll find a fenced-in dog park near the corner of East Broad and Jones streets.  
Paisley - The Paris Market-11
That Doggie in the Window
While you’re walking, you’re likely to pass by a plethora of cute boutiques and tempting eateries—enough to give you a case of the sad eyes because furry customers aren’t always welcome in human environs.  Fortunately, many Savannah businesses have figured out that the way to your heart is through your pup. Savannah Bee Co., Nourish, Copper Penny, Fab’rik, Modern General, 24e Design Co., and Half Moon Outfitters are just a few of the Broughton Street boutiques that happily welcome four-legged shoppers to sniff around with their humans. If it’s your pup you’re shopping for, you can find the just-right chew toy or handmade treat at locally owned dog stores, Grateful Hound on Ellis Square, and Oliver Bentleys on Wright Square and Florida-based Woof Gang Bakery in City Market. Out on your own but wishing to see a furry face?  Zia Sachedina, the owner of ZIA Jewelry on Broughton often has his beloved XhuXhu  (zoo-zoo) and Coco in the store to help shoppers pick out the perfect item for that special someone.  Other Savannah “store dogs” to visit are Shepard at Satchel on Liberty Street, Bailey at Frieze on Bull Street, and Manchester at Custard Boutique in Savannah’s Downtown Design District.  Nothing makes shopping more fun than a four-legged sales associate. Watson - The Public-1
Kibble and Biscuits
So, your dog has his treat but now you’re hungry.  No problem.  If you spy a restaurant with outdoor seating, chances are near 100 percent they allow dogs to dine with their humans.  That’s right, from a fine dining menu at The Olde Pink House on Reynolds Square to Savannah institution Clary’s Cafe at Abercorn and Jones, if the establishment has outdoor tables they are probably dog-friendly.  Just ask. For breakfast or brunch, Clary’s, Goose Feathers, The Collins Quarter, J. Christopher’s, Firefly Café, the Funky Brunch Café and B. Mathew’s Eatery are all “four paws up” faves.  Each will even treat your canine companion to a doggie biscuit or two, and usually have a bowl available for water.  For lunch, Ollie B., Abbie and I bark back time and time again to The Public Kitchen and Bar, Wright Square Cafe, Zunzi’s, Dept. 7 East, Flying Monk Noodle Bar and Kayak Cafe. Looking for a quick jolt or a sweet snack?  Coffee Fox, Gallery Expresso and Leopold’s Ice Cream are just the ticket to rest your paws for a spell.  At Leopold’s, be sure to order one of their special doggie sundaes, made with vanilla and topped with a biscuit. Atlas - Ardsley Park-1
A Place for Us
Playing host to friends with a dog?  Finding lodging for the whole pack is easy at Fidofriendly.com.  From the retro Thunderbird Inn to the Westin Savannah Harbor Golf Resort and Spa on Hutchinson Island, Savannah’s hospitality industry will welcome your dog with open paws.  My favorites are Olde Harbour Inn on the Savannah River, the quaint East Bay Inn and the comfy, contemporary Brice by Kimpton.  For a B&B right in the middle of the Historic District, check out The Foley House Inn, which allows dogs of all sizes in every room. Outside of the Historic District, the canine hospitality continues.  Be sure to get provisions from locally owned pet stores—like Tailsspin’s health- and community-conscious Habersham Village and Pooler locations, Canine Palace at Bull Street and Victory Drive, or Retail Retreat Dog Bakery and Boutique—where the purveyors take the time to get to know you and your pup’s tastes in food and toys.  Think of them as Cheers for dogs.  Stroll the Starland District and grab a bite at the Starland Café, then frolic in the dog park right next door.  In Daffin Park near historic Grayson Stadium, your dog can run free in a safe, pine-shaded enclosure. No choice but to leave Fido at home while you’re off exploring?  Catnip ’n’ Biscuits is a luxury daycare and overnight pet hotel with spa services that go beyond the mere bath.  You can add a facial scrub to the standard ear cleaning and nail grinding.  Same at Midtown’s Diva Dogs and Southside’s Barkie Bow Wow, which also offers boarding services. The Animal Resort and Spa on Ogeechee Road provides large private suites for pets.  Find that you can’t get to the groomer on a busy day?  Have Top Dog’s mobile grooming come to you. We all know how much our tail-wagging loved ones love to swim—and that may be the only area where Savannah falls short.  Unfortunately, Tybee Island is not a dog-friendly beach, but there are beaches on Hilton Head Island where dogs can swim. Sniff it out—along with all of these other pup possibilities.  Once you do, tails will wag and those sad, sad eyes will be a thing of the past.

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It's already a haute spring, thanks to SCAD Style.  Get the highlights here.

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In Savannah, membership certainly has its privileges.  In each issue, we’re sending Brianne Halverson and Dan Gilbert undercover to discover the inner workings of some of the city’s most popular clubs. Photography by Teresa Earnest View More: http://teresaearnestphotography.pass.us/hibernion-society You’ve definitely seen a group of “Ancient” Hibernians all decked out in green and white during Savannah’s famous St. Patrick’s Day parade.  With the 191st parade just around the corner, we talked to Brian Crowley, the order’s not-so-ancient president. Meet the Ancient Order of Hibernians: Savannah’s chapter of the international fraternal organization of Irish Catholics Hideout:  We meet monthly downtown at O’Connell’s Pub and quarterly at the Cathedral of St. John the Baptist.  When we were founded in 1836, I would have kept our meeting location very secret.  This was during a time when the Irish were treated like second-class citizens and Catholic priests were being persecuted.  Now we want people to know about our meetings—we welcome all newcomers. House Rules:  In the beginning, there was so much secrecy around the organization that we are unable to trace all the rituals or rules.  Still, we have a lot of historic bylaws, including wearing sashes and sitting in specific formations during meetings.  All members are sworn to secrecy about specific details.  Oh, and there’s a gavel I get to use.
“Our best fundraising event is Road Bowling.  It’s an ancient sport where the Irish would steal the British cannon balls and roll them around in a race.” 
“Gang” Signs:  Not what you might expect.  Being Irish in the U.S. is associated with drinking and craziness around St. Patrick’s Day, but that’s really a misconception—we’re truly about family and community.  If you see a member, he’s more likely helping repair leaks at a local monastery, or handing out frozen turkeys at the Savannah Mission. High Points:  Friendship and charity. Education is a big focus for us and we support organizations like Fresh Air Home, a nonprofit that helps underserved kids have a healthy, outdoor summer camp experience.  And our best fundraising event of the year—without a doubt—is Road Bowling.  It’s an ancient sport where the Irish would steal the British cannon balls and roll them around in a race.  This year’s Irish Road Bowl Tournament is on March 21 at 10 a.m. and it will be our best yet. Everyone is welcome!

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Dan Gilbert helps us navigate this weekend’s 5th Annual Savannah Stopover Music Festival.

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Vote TODAY for the Coastal Empire’s top health care professionals. 

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The SCAD Museum of Art hosts the first posthumous exhibition of Oscar de la Renta's designs.

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timeline image Where were you when Savannah magazine was born?  Or rather, who were you? I was a painfully awkward 13-year-old with chapped lips and an outgrown perm.  I had a closet full of turtlenecks, ruffled skirts and “Hammer” pants.  Sci-fi and fantasy novels lined my bookshelves.  A movie reviewer for the school newspaper, I sat through such thought-provoking master works as Home Alone and Witches with a notebook and pen in hand.  A Mason-Dixon baby with a Southern mama and a Yankee dad, I danced to Salt ’N’ Pepa and sang along with John Prine.  I wanted desperately to belong to something and someone, but I didn’t know how—or where. Meanwhile, editor Georgia Byrd (then Whitley) and publisher Don Harwood were already making this magazine. “Savannah’s Identity Crisis,” reads a line on the cover of the very first issue, and the crisis is apparent.  “Will she remain a pretty lady rooted in the 18th and 19th centuries?  Or will she move forward into the millennium with a futuristic attitude to match?” asks the feature article inside. That was 1990—a quarter of a century ago.  Since then, hundreds of contributors have made their mark on this magazine, and hundreds of thousands have made their mark on the city. I can’t take credit for the past 25 years, but I can join you in marveling at how far we’ve all come.  What a joy to be part of something bigger than ourselves—a collaborative organism of writers, photographers, local businesses and readers that has spanned the turn of a century and the change of an age. Savannah has grown—from a small town with an identity crisis to a tourist destination with a global reputation. The magazine has grown—from a stapled, 64-page quarterly to a glossy, perfect-bound lifestyle brand that produces 10 issues a year and frequently exceeds 200 pages. And we, as individuals, have evolved in ways impossible to quantify.  Those are the stories I want to tell this year: stories of evolution and discovery. In this issue, you’ll hear from many of the people who have grown with this city—and many more who are changing it still.  From energetic expats and enterprising young leaders to well-known pillars of the business community, we talked to more than 100 locals with memories of the past—and visions of the future.  But this issue is only the beginning.  We plan to party all year, with playful nods to our past and hopeful strides into the future.  And the celebration isn’t complete until we hear from you. Send us your picture from 1990 and tell us how and why you’ve changed.  Tell us a story about how far we’ve come as a city—and how far we still need to go.  Join us in honoring a relationship of 25 years—and help us make the next 25 even better than the last. Say what you like about Savannah—please, do—but one thing’s for sure: We belong here.  Now, let’s make ourselves at home. What a difference 25 years make! Annabelle Carr, Editor
What were you up to in 1990?
Send us a throwback photo and you could win a pair of passes that will get you in to all of Savannah magazine’s parties this year.
Do you have a story to tell?
What have you learned in the past 25 years?  What do you wish you knew when you were 25?  Email a letter to the editor today.  

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2014 Grad by Chelsea WarlickWEB Older than America by more than three decades, Bethesda Academy stands as Savannah’s most storied educational institution.  Allison Hersh ventures beyond the school’s signature arch to celebrate. Photography courtesy of Bethesda Academy,Teresa Earnest and Chelsea Warlick In the past three centuries, Bethesda Academy has seen a lot of change, but some things remain the same.  Just ask one of the school’s hundred or so all-male students. “We are a family, not a school,” raves John Wyatt Ingram, the valedictorian of Bethesda’s class of 2012.  “Bethesda is such a special place to learn and grow because of the history that surrounds us.” Now a sophomore majoring in pharmacy at the University of Wisconsin, Wyatt is one of more than 13,000 success stories who have passed beneath the iconic arch at Bethesda.  This venerable institution celebrates its landmark 275th anniversary this year, continuing its legacy of transforming lives on a scenic 650-acre campus nestled along the banks of the Moon River. Like the majestic live oaks lining the school’s main entrance, Bethesda has deep roots that run far beyond the surface.  In fact, its story dates back to 1740, just seven years after Gen. James Edward Oglethorpe established Savannah as England’s 13th colony along the Atlantic coast.
A Love of Learning
Founded by the Rev. George Whitefield as a home for 61 orphans, Bethesda has the distinction of being the oldest childcare facility in the United States. In its earliest days, Bethesda was visited by many of America’s founding fathers, and Benjamin Franklin was one of the institution’s earliest supporters. Over the past three centuries, Bethesda has upheld Whitefield’s founding mission to teach “a love for God, a love of learning and a strong work ethic.” The Bethesda Home for Boys provided young men with a stable alternative to their home environment through 1991, adding an on-site academic program the following year. In 2011, the school was re-branded as Bethesda Academy, linking the institution back to Whitefield's original vision that Bethesda always be “a seat of sound learning.” Over the years, Bethesda has evolved into an award-winning middle and high school serving a diverse student population—and focused on helping boys succeed in the classroom and beyond.  Today, the school has a deep commitment to college preparatory learning and high-quality instruction.  With an emphasis on integrated learning and spiritual development, the academy tailors its academic and hands-on educational opportunities to the developing minds of young men. “We make learning dynamic,” the school’s long-time president, David Tribble, explains. “Bethesda is a unique culture with traditional classrooms as well as out door living laboratories.” “Our boys are a living expression of Bethesda’s core values,”adds T. Mills Fleming, a partner at HunterMaclean who serves as the chairman of the Board of Governors.  “Bethesda provides the infrastructure within which the boys cangrow and prosper.  They know we care, that they matter and that we will give them the necessary tools to succeed.” Chess at lunchWEB
 A Living Laboratory
Today, Bethesda Academy is a school for more than 100 young men, with a curriculum designed specifically around the ways boys learn most effectively.  With residential and day school options, Bethesda is home to a wildlife management program, an organic farm and garden (complete with Dwarf Nigerian Goats, egg-laying hens and grass-fed cattle) and a nationally ranked chess team.  Instead of lugging expensive books, each student receives a laptop loaded with the necessary texts, as well as interactive games and activities designed to engage and stretch his attention span. “We teach the boys the value of discipline, responsibility and hard work in the classroom, on the playing field, and through our popular farm and garden work-study program,” Fleming says.  “The boys can also earn credit towards their tuition by working on the farm (and other programs), and this makes them more appreciative of what it means to be a part of Bethesda’s rich heritage and culture.” The school’s lush campus boasts stunning waterfront views, picturesque moss-draped live oaks and an informative visitor center that is open to the public, sharing Bethesda’s incredible story through multi-media exhibits and rare artifacts. “There is no place like Bethesda in the United States,” Fleming declares.  “We do not receive any state funding, so we have to raise close to $3.4 million per year to operate.  Every dollar raised is a dollar well spent to give the boys a second chance to succeed.” During the past 275 years, one constant has remained: a commitment to Whitfield’s founding values. “Traditional values create a sense of brotherhood among our students,” Tribble explains.  “They’re classmates, workmates and teammates who share a bond in a very unique learning culture.”
The Power of Place
Bethesda Academy is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and offers students a wide range of academic, athletic, vocational and spiritual development opportunities. “Bethesda is a powerful place, with carefully designed curriculum, programs and work study, producing boys and outcomes that are beginning to gain national recognition,” raves board vice-chairman John C. Helmken II, South State Bank regional executive and executive vice president. More than 85 percent of the school’s graduates attend college after graduation.  Bethesda alumni have gone on to become acclaimed business leaders, scientists, teachers, doctors and professional athletes. Many institutions have come and gone over the past 275 years.  So, what is the secret to Bethesda’s longevity? “We have learned that as the needs of our youth change, we need to change as well, while keeping our connection to traditional values,” Tribble muses. “You have to adapt and grow and learn and re-invent yourself.” That versatility has been key to Bethesda’s impact over nearly three centuries.  With strong leadership, committed teachers and a clear mission, this is one Savannah institution with an illustrious past—and a bright future. “We will do everything we can,” Helmken promises, “to make sure that those who come after us are able to celebrate thousands of additional success stories.” That’s a promise for the next 275 years.   View More: http://teresaearnestphotography.pass.us/bethesda
Beyond the Arch
Allison Hersh takes notes at Georgia’s oldest—and, arguably, most breathtaking—educational institution. Practical Values:  Bethesda’s founder, the Rev. George Whitfield, wanted the institution to be a place of strong Calvinist influence defined by a wholesome atmosphere and strong discipline.  Boys were taught a variety of trades so they could earn a living as adults. Family Friendly:  Although Bethesda was founded as an orphanage in 1740, its mission and focus have evolved over the years to include students of all backgrounds.  Approximately half of the school’s students participate in the boarding program, while the other half live at home and attend Bethesda as a day school. Smart Moves: Bethesda is home to one of the nation’s top competitive chess teams.  In 2014, Bethesda’s chess team competed in an intense three-day tournament in San Diego, California, ranking ninth in the nation in the Under 800 Division. Fighting Spirit: Reverend Whitefield’s legacy has a proud military history.  A brave Bethesda boy has fought and died in every war in which the U.S. has been involved, dating all the way back to the American Revolutionary War. Historical Romance: The school’s Whitfield Chapel is one of the South’s most romantic places to tie the knot.  With herringbone brick floors and vintage wooden pews, this historic chapel has hosted dreamy weddings for celebrities such as Paula Deen, actress Mandy Moore and country singer Joe Nichols.

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