SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Savannah certainly has it’s share of history, but not all of it is in the Historic District. Just over ten miles southeast of downtown Savannah lies Bethesda Academy, which has a rich history of raising boys.
Bethesda is just about as old as Savannah. Founded in 1740, the school is just seven years younger than the Hostess City and was originally an orphanage for those who made the journey across the Atlantic.
“Of course, a lot of people died and they had to have somewhere to put the boys, and this school was founded around 1740 to house and educate the orphans of the colonist of the trustees of Georgia,” said Kevin Iocovozzi, Founding President/Bethesda Supporter.
Bethesda Home for Boys served as an orphanage through the 70s. It then transitioned into Bethesda Academy, where some students live on campus throughout the week and go home on the weekends. Now, they have nearly 100 students during the school year. While it’s now a school, the spirit of the Home for Boys carries on.
“It lives on, it lives on every day. Look at this beautiful 50-acre property that this house is on and these houses are on and this church is on, this farmland where the boys were educated to raise cattle and do practical things for the day, and this carries on today,” Iocovozzi said.
Iocovozzi says it’s got a special place in your heart.
“It does, my brother and I were held here as orphan babies for a few weeks in the late 50s, and then we were in a foster home, and then at six months, our mother and father, George and Celeste Iocovozzi, adopted us, and I think that tradition and the responsibility of making sure this place exists for all time is maintained,” said Iocovozzi. “Very personal, as I think it should be for all the citizens of Savannah to have this treasure here. You know, this site is a solemn place, it’s been mentoring boys since 1740 and those types of traditions can’t die these days. We have to maintain it, and sustain it, and enhance it.”