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Diocese sees multiple school re-brandings in 2023
Paul Dusseault

Diocese sees multiple school re-brandings in 2023

By Paul Dusseault

Pictured are the newly-designed logos for (left to right) Corpus Christi Catholic Academy, Pax Christi Catholic Preschool and
Our Lady of Walsingham Academy.

COLORADO SPRINGS. A preschool, an elementary school, and a high school in the Diocese of Colorado Springs recently adopted new names — all unaware of each other’s actions, all for their own distinct reasons, yet all at the same time.

Is there something in the holy water?

St. Katharine Drexel Catholic School in Lone Tree just re-opened as Pax Christi Preschool; Corpus Christi Catholic School, a century-old elementary school in Colorado Springs, became Corpus Christi Catholic Academy; and Chesterton Academy of Our Lady of Walsingham, Colorado Springs’ first classical Catholic high school, re-branded as Our Lady of Walsingham Academy. 

“There was no cross-diocesan coordination of course, but I think the experience of installing a new bishop (James R. Golka), combined with the relief of emerging from Covid-era lockdowns, created an atmosphere of renewal,” said Sheila Whalen, superintendent of Catholic education for the Diocese of Colorado Springs. “Bishop Golka has been clear about allowing schools to pursue what they believe is most important, and to not stand in their way.  Achieving new goals, or setting a new direction, can be greatly aided by changing the name.”

The re-launch of each of these three institutions was motivated by very different circumstances. 

Pax Christi Preschool

In 2013, Pax Christi Catholic Church in Lone Tree opened a preschool with the help of a neighboring parish.  They named it St. Katharine Drexel Catholic School in honor of the visionary 19th-century American Catholic educator and founder of the Sisters of the Blessed Sacrament. The school serves primarily Pax Christi parishioners but is open to children from the community.

After experimenting with different configurations of class levels, the current pastor, Father Andrzej Szczesnowicz, made the decision with the help of various advisors to commit formally to remaining a preschool so that resources could be focused on high quality education for pre-kindergarten children.  This strategic decision was reinforced by changing the name to Pax Christi Catholic Preschool. 

“We’re now able to concentrate on the mission of rigorous, faith-based education complemented by Catechesis of the Good Shepherd,” said Jennifer Tucker, director of the preschool. “Our staff has reported a surprising emotional shift with the name change. The school is  clearly no longer a separate thing, but a Pax Christi parish thing.  When the kids are marching through the hallway, or attending Mass in the church, people no longer think, ‘Those are the kids from the school.’  They think, ‘Those are Pax Christi kids . . . our kids.’”

The Pax Christi Catholic Preschool logo is derived from parish logo, which was refreshed in 2021 by graphic designer Laura Luchini.  It is intended to create a contemporary and welcoming mood suggested by the translated name: Peace of Christ. The dominant graphic is a stained-glass window inspired by the work of German artist Gerard Richter, employing a set of bright colors assembled in a pleasing pattern. The text “Pax Christi” is rendered in a traditional serif font as an homage to the roots of the Catholic faith, and coupled with a contemporary script to denote a modern community.

Corpus Christi Catholic Academy

It’s not uncommon for adult parishioners of Corpus Christi Catholic Church in Colorado Springs’ Old North End to tell stories about attending the parish school.  As did their parents.  As did their parents. In fact, just a year after Corpus Christi Catholic School celebrated its 100th anniversary, the school embarked on a new academic direction, hired a new principal, launched a new web site, and pledged to pursue a new mission as Corpus Christi Catholic Academy.

“There has been talk for some time about turning our elementary education in a classical direction,” said Bill Carroll, principal of the school. “But the name change really accelerated that agenda.”

The classical model not only emphasizes fine arts, language skills, and sacred music, it also seeks to integrate curriculums across age groups.  “Recently our first graders read the Robert Louis Stevenson poem, ‘Bed in Summer.’ Our-eighth graders memorized ‘The Wind’ by the same poet. Then the first-graders recited their poem to the eighth-graders and the eighth-graders recited their poem to the first graders.  I don’t think any of them will ever forget it.”

The new logo designed by brand consultant Jodi Sunderman of Venn Market Strategies incorporates visual elements borrowed from stained-glass windows of the parish church.  The featured image? A pelican.

“There’s an ancient legend that in times of famine the mother pelican would strike its breast to feed its offspring with drops of its own blood,” said Carroll. “So as it faced death, it gave its lifeblood to sustain and nourish its progeny.  Early Christians adopted this symbol because it is through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross that his people are washed in his blood and redeemed.” 

The reimagined website is braced with the tagline, “Unapologetically Catholic.” According to Carroll, that’s a crucial ingredient of the school’s revised direction. “We’re not shy or reticent to discuss our faith, grow in our faith, and deepen our faith, regardless of what the ambient society has to say about it,” he said. “It’s becoming harder to steer away from the destructive direction of the secular world and toward the moral teachings of the Church, so we have to lean harder into that course to be effective.”

Our Lady of Walsingham Academy

Colorado Springs’ first classical Catholic high school opened in 2021 as Chesterton Academy of Our Lady of Walsingham, one of 50 private Catholic high schools in the nationwide Chesterton Schools Network. The school re-launched this fall as Our Lady of Walsingham Academy, having severed its ties to the network. 

The newly-independent academy still shares a mission with the Chesterton Schools: To form liberally educated ladies and gentlemen via a classical, integrated high school education faithful to the teachings of the Catholic Church.  The move to independent status was largely driven by administrative concerns.

“The resources and services of the Chesterton Network are designed primarily to assist those new to, or unfamiliar with, the operation of a classical Catholic high school,” said Mark Langley, the school’s headmaster. “Since the school was founded, we’ve been able to attract to the faculty some real veterans of classical Catholic education, folks who bring a world of experience to our enterprise. Add to that the preference for local autonomy based on the Catholic concept of subsidiarity and it became clear that the independent route was the best way for us to deliver an education true to the classical Catholic tradition.”

Our Lady of Walsingham is a title for the Blessed Mother first popular in 11th-century Europe. In the logo created with the help of communications consultant Page Public Relations, the name is rendered in an Old English font reminiscent of calligraphy-crafted medieval manuscripts. The seal is flanked by the treble clef, a nod to the sacred music and student choir for which the school is known, and finished by the Greek letters Alpha and Omega as Jesus Christ calls himself in the book of Revelation. The Madonna is depicted with a Saxon crown to reference Walsingham, England, and holds a royal scepter of three lilies to denote the Holy Trinity.  The Christ Child extends a two-fingered blessing to reference the dual nature of Jesus and holds a book to represent both the Gospels and the Great Books of Western Civilization upon which the school curriculum is based.

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