St. Gabriel Classical Academy wraps up  successful first year
Linda Oppelt
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St. Gabriel Classical Academy wraps up successful first year

By Beth Samson

COLORADO SPRINGS. Seventy-two students just finished the first academic year at St. Gabriel Classical Academy, the newest Catholic elementary school in the Diocese of Colorado Springs.

Born from a need for a Catholic school in the northeast corner of town and from Holy Spirit-led generosity, St. Gabriel Classical Academy (SGCA) opened in August 2022 with 42 students in preschool through fifth grade. Situated in the fastest-growing part of Colorado Springs, the academy’s enrollment surged during the school year as many young families jumped at the opportunity for their children to receive a classical Catholic education close to home.

Two years ago, Roy and Diane Clennan, passionate Catholic school supporters and active philanthropists in the diocese, approached then-Bishop Michael Sheridan and Father Kirk Slattery, pastor of St. Gabriel the Archangel, with an offer to help build a new Catholic elementary school.

“If you want to affect change for the future, education is the way,” Diane Clennan said when asked why she and her husband support Catholic education. The couple’s transformational generosity has already drastically changed the future for many Catholic families in northeast Colorado Springs, making a longtime dream a reality.

St. Gabriel the Archangel broke ground for the school building on November 6, 2022, but because there was already massive interest from families from the parish and the surrounding area, SGCA is currently using the parish’s classroom spaces. The new school building is scheduled to open in 2024.

St. Gabriel Classical Academy provides a classical Catholic education, which focuses on learning through deep thinking and experiences instead of lectures, standardized testing and computer screens. This approach aims to fully develop the whole child, giving them an education ordered in eternal happiness, cultivating habits of deep thinking and intellectual freedom, and forming adults who map their own destiny in concert with God.

“We choose St. Gabriel Classical Academy because it connects the importance of a classical education with the foundation of Catholic teachings,” school parent and math teacher Andrea Vollmer said. “Our family has been enriched to grow in our faith, and our sons are developing in a safe, supportive, loving and challenging environment. Sending our children to St. Gabriel has been the best decision for our family.”

Each school day starts with Mass, and the school’s mission is alive in every classroom: “To assist parents in their sacred duty as the primary educators of their children. We do this by providing a challenging and integrated Catholic liberal arts education; focused on Truth, Goodness and Beauty imbued with the rich traditions of the Catholic faith. Our goal is not only academic excellence but to form children as joyful and virtuous disciples of Christ.”

The 2023-24 school year promises to be even bigger for SGCA, with 142 students currently enrolled in preschool through seventh grade — and there’s room for even more. Every grade level has limited openings for students except for second grade, which has a waitlist. You can learn more about St. Gabriel Classical Academy at stgclassical.com. To schedule a tour, contact Michelle Trinca at mtrinca@stgabrielcos.com.

“As a product of Catholic education, I am excited for another Catholic grade school in our diocese that will help foster a sense of vocation in our children,” Bishop James Golka said. “I look forward to St. Gabriel Classical Academy helping young students hear and recognize God’s plan for their life!”

St. Gabriel the Archangel is in the midst of the Together We Can Capital Campaign, an ambitious endeavor to raise the $7 million needed to finish construction and fully furnish the school building. Once completed, the 70,000-square foot building will have 22 classrooms and will be able to hold 400 students in preschool through eighth grade. It includes a gymnasium, a cafeteria commons with a stage, and art and music rooms.

The parish has raised $839,127 as of June 9. If you would like to support the newest Catholic school in Colorado Springs, you can give online at giving.parishsoft.com/app/giving/stg8755101. Under “Fund,” please select “Together We Can Campaign” to ensure that your gift is directed to the school.

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