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St. Gabriel parishioners rally behind school building project
Linda Oppelt

St. Gabriel parishioners rally behind school building project

By Beth Samson

COLORADO SPRINGS. Clare Bowen, a third-grader at St. Gabriel Classical Academy (SGCA), really wants a watermelon-shaped purse. She’s had her eye on one for a while, and she’s been saving up. When she learned that the St. Gabriel community was raising money to complete her new school building, though, she changed her mind.

“I want to give my spending money to the school,” she told her parents. “A new school is more important than a purse.”

Clare isn’t alone in her dedication to SGCA. Hundreds of parents, parishioners and many more in the St. Gabriel community and beyond are committed to completing the construction of the school building and continuing to provide their children with an exemplary classical Catholic education.

Later this month, Clare and 141 other bright young minds will start SGCA’s second academic year in a temporary space — the faith formation classrooms at St. Gabriel the Archangel Catholic Church, which is generously sharing its space until the school building is ready to go.

During the school week, the parish will buzz with the joyful energy of uniform-clad students receiving a Catholic, classical education. Each day begins with daily Mass, which is integral to the mission of the school. Daily Mass at SGCA demonstrates “the dedication and faith of the staff and teachers,” said Jenny Vostatek, the mother of an SGCA fourth-grader and sixth-grader. The teachers “live their faith not just on Sundays but daily, and help the children grow in their knowledge and love of the faith.”

These teachers are so dedicated to providing excellent Catholic education that two of them recently graduated from a 500-hour training program through Mary’s Catholic Montessori Training Center. Nicole Kempf and Laura Morgan, SGCA’s lead preschool teachers, have the training to provide a Montessori formation with the integrated Catechesis of the Good Shepherd to all preschool students.

As the staff look ahead to the second year of SGCA, fourth-grade teacher Kelly Benchoff — also the mother of two SGCA students — is eager to “continue creating an authentic Catholic school culture and traditions.”

Teachers like Benchoff, the recent recipient of a St. John Bosco Teacher Award from the Diocese of Colorado Springs, know their purpose is not only to educate students, but also “to infuse the Fruits of the Spirit into lessons, instilling a sense of wonder and order in the students.”

When the new school building opens in 2024, it will have space for 400 students to receive a Catholic, classical education in preschool through 8th grade. The 70,000-square foot building will have 22 classrooms, a gymnasium, a cafeteria commons with a stage, and art and music rooms.

The families at St. Gabriel Catholic Church and St. Gabriel Classical Academy have been raising money for this new school building in the Together We Can Capital Campaign, a tremendous effort to raise the $7 million needed to finish construction and fully furnish the school building. To date, they have raised over $1.37 million dollars.

Those who would like to join those families — and the efforts of students like Clare Bowen — in supporting the newest Catholic school in Colorado Springs 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.

More information and school tours are available at 719-418-5670 or mtrinca@stgabrielcos.com.

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