Chesterton Academy of SJPII opening in fall 2021

The Green Bay Area Catholic Education (GRACE) school system is pleased to announce that high school grades will be added to St. John Paul II Classical School starting in fall 2021.

Bishop David Ricken of the Diocese of Green Bay reviewed the recommendation of the Classical High School Study Team’s 13 members and, having received the counsel and consent of the GRACE Board of Trustees and Board of Directors, has approved the addition of grades 9-12 to St. John Paul II Classical School. The high school will be called Chesterton Academy at St. John Paul II Classical School.

“I am grateful for the opportunities that lie before us and look forward to the fruit that will come with this initiative,” Bishop Ricken said in his letter of approval.

Chesterton Academy will offer a classical liberal arts education with a deep regard for the development of Catholic virtues in our students. The academy will debut with the addition of Grade 9 in fall 2021 and add one grade each year thereafter until graduating the first class of seniors in spring 2025. The academy will be located at 320 Victoria St., Green Bay, in the St. Philip the Apostle campus building, which also houses St. John Paul II Classical School.

Mr. Patrick McKeown (pictured), a current teacher, will serve as Chesterton Academy headmaster and work in partnership with Mr. Alex Wolf, headmaster at St. John Paul II Classical School, one of nine schools in the GRACE system that instills academic excellence and Catholic development in students attending preschool through eighth grade.

Mr. McKeown embraces the opportunity to enrich students in a new Catholic classical high school, saying: “At Chesterton Academy, we understand that students yearn for depth, not merely a career. With a richly cultivated soul, mind and imagination, students will joyfully go on mission to serve with purpose and zeal.”

Mr. McKeown will continue to provide instruction as an eighth-grade teacher this school year and gradually add duties as Chesterton Academy headmaster over the year in preparation for the school’s opening in fall. He will assume full-time headmaster duties on July 1, 2021. As he works to lead the school, Mr. McKeown also will maintain some teaching duties at the high school level.

Mr. Bill Micksch, chair of the GRACE Board of Trustees, welcomes the addition of Chesterton Academy.

“We are so excited to be moving forward with expanding St. John Paul II Classical School to grades 9-12,” Mr. Micksch said. “The collaboration between members from GRACE, the Diocese of Green Bay, Notre Dame Academy and many others truly lead to the proper recommendation to expand the current location to also now include high school. GRACE will be proud to serve the classical school community with the expanded offering of high school.”

St. John Paul II Classical School has experienced strong growth since opening in 2016. In the summer of 2019, GRACE launched a comprehensive study team to explore the best way to form a classical high school. After nearly 10 months of significant research, visits and discussion encompassing studies of 11 schools and models, the team determined that opening a high school at the current St. John Paul II Classical School site through the Chesterton Schools Network would be the best option.

Chesterton Academy’s unique, integrated, classical curriculum is centered on the Catholic faith. High school students participate in increased weekly sacraments, and each year faculty members take an Oath of Fidelity to the Magisterium. Students receive a cohesive, content-rich education that provides broad exposure to numerous disciplines, from the humanities, math and science, to the fine arts. In addition to intellectual formation, spiritual and character formation are essential elements of the Chesterton Academy experience.

The Chesterton Schools Network ( was founded in 2007 by Mr. Dale Ahlquist, president and co-founder of the American Chesterton Society, and Mr. Tom Bengtson. Their mission was to offer a classical, integrated high school education that was faithful to the Catholic Church and affordable for families. Inspired by the great English writer and defender of the faith G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), the first Chesterton Academy opened in the fall of 2008. Currently, there are 30 Chesterton Academy schools operating across the United States, Canada and Italy, with several additional schools scheduled to open in 2021.

“The new Chesterton Academy in Green Bay is part of a thrilling, cross-country, parent-led movement to revive Catholic classical education in secondary schools,” Mr. Ahlquist said. “We have been watching lives being transformed as we raise up a new generation of Catholic leaders who are being formed in truth, beauty and goodness.”

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