With a shared mission and vision to enhance the Vermilion parish community, it made perfect sense for Pastor Walter August, Jr., senior pastor and chairperson of Bethel’s Place, to collaborate with Williams Scholar Academy (WSA) on his latest construction endeavor.

The newly-approved Type 2 charter in Ver- milion is spearheaded by School Leaders, Dr. Twyla Williams-Damond and Mrs. Tiffany Williams-Spraggins. Williams Scholar Academy will serve as the academic anchor for the state-of-the-art Educational Center inclusive of office space, classrooms (6-12th grade), science laboratories, technology center, library, cafeteria, full gymnasium, and an outdoor recreational facility. The double-faced building will also be characterized by 65,000+ sq. ft. and 3+ levels.

Upon completion, the establishment will house:

  • The Williams Scholar Academy in the Educational Center
  • The James A. Herod Cultural Center, which will give homage to James A. Herod High School’s alumni and former educators
  • An African-American History Museum
  • Several Adult Learning suites

In dual roles, Dr. Damond and Mrs. Spraggins will also serve as the cura- tors for the entire facility.

Dr. Williams-Damond states, “Immediately upon BESE approval this past December, WSA was blessed to be in the position of contemplating several respectable offers concerning facilities. We would be remiss if we did not express our gratefulness for the outpouring of support from local businesses and commercial real estate owners who were willing to house our school. However, Pastor Walter August, Jr. provided the vision that most closely aligns with WSA’s goals for students. In addition, his reputation for philanthropy and working in Vermilion is undeniable.”

Mrs. Spraggins says, “We all stand on the shoulders of the educators who started and kept James A. Herod going for many years. It is an honor to help revitalize that history and be a part of increasing the learn- ing outcomes for students. Combining educational endeavors with the ability to rebuild at such a historic site is a rare opportunity and we are truly humbled to be a part of this venture. We intend to shift the narrative and commence a new story within our own historic borders. WSA’s belief: ‘Your school. Your choice’.”

With a goal of more than $10 million dollars, Bethel’s Place will officially start the Building Capital Campaign on Martin Luther King Day, January 18, 2020. During Abbeville’s MLK activities on Monday, Pastor August will share his vision for the property as one of the featured guest speakers. All social distancing requirements will be in place.

Interested in donating to the Building Capital Campaign? Please make checks payable to: Bethel’s Place-James A. Herod Project. All donations are tax deductible and can be sent directly to Gulf Coast Bank of Abbeville.

For more information on Williams Scholar Academy, visit wsascholar.com.