COLORADO SPRINGS. Crisp uniforms are on order, stacked boxes yield fresh textbooks, and new lockers line the hall as Chesterton Academy of Our Lady of Walsingham prepares for the first day of its inaugural year. This classical Catholic high school, located on the campus of St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church, welcomes students Sept. 7.
A gala in May raised more than $150,000. Since then, 26 students have enrolled, far exceeding projections, and a waiting list stretches to Fall 2022. The headmaster got a jump on the year by assigning summer reading (The Yearling, The Shadow of His Wings, The Path to Rome) and a recent camping trip introduced students to newly hired teachers.
At Our Lady of Walsingham, students and faculty will attend daily Mass and, at a convocation Mass (6:30 p.m., Sept. 24, Corpus Christi Church), faculty will take an oath of fidelity to the Magisterium.
Homer, Plato, Aristotle, Euclid, Virgil, Dante, Chaucer, Shakespeare, St. Francis of Assisi, St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Teresa of Avila, Dostoyevsky, and G.K. Chesterton are among the authors featured in the curriculum which braids history, literature, philosophy, and theology into one cohesive whole.
The sciences and the humanities are intimately connected so that the logic of math is seen in philosophy and God’s handiwork is seen in the natural world. Equal emphasis is given to the arts; every student learns to draw and paint, sing in the choir, act on stage, give speeches, and engage in debate.
“I’ve been involved in school start-ups before,” said Mark Langley, who moved his family to Colorado from Ohio after being recruited as the school’s headmaster. “But the enthusiasm and energy behind Our Lady of Walsingham is like nothing I’ve seen. The hunger for this sort of education in Colorado Springs bodes well both for the growth of Our Lady of Walsingham and the future of classical Catholic education.”
“We’re fond of describing our schools as joyfully Catholic,” said Dale Ahlquist, founder of the Chesterton Academy Network, a group of 30 affiliated high schools around the country that includes Our Lady of Walsingham. “I frequently hear from visitors: ‘I heard so much laughter as I walked the halls.’ And that’s by design. That’s what we are trying to create — young men and women who know Christ’s redeeming love, who are comfortable with their faith, and are not at all afraid to defend it.”
(Paul Dusseault is a member of the board of Chesterton Academy of Our Lady of Walsingham.)