WARWICK — It was a cloudy Saturday morning. A group of young teenagers looking forward with a sense of joy and optimism intently work on a test that will determine how the next step of their student life will unfold.
This was the scene at the entrance exam for the Chesterton Academy of Our Lady of Hope, held on January 15. Since Bishop Thomas J. Tobin’s approval of Chesterton Academy as a Catholic school, interest in the school has been growing.
“We have seen a steady interest of Rhode Island families since we announced our plans to start the Chesterton Academy,” said Tyler Rowley, a member of the board of directors for the new Catholic high school.
The board plans on beginning with freshman and sophomores when they open their doors next Fall. Rowley went on to note that the school is currently on track to fill all the spots for their first two classes.
“We have seen a significant uptick in interest in the school since the Bishop signed the decree recognizing us as a Catholic school in the Diocese,” said Michael Casey, co-founder of the school. “Last week...I showed the school three times in three days for private tours to interested families,” he added.
What has attracted many families to the school is its strong emphasis on a classical education contextualized within the framework of a strong Catholic identity.
The teaching style and philosophy of most non-Catholic schools creates a “fragmentary” view on reality that “does very little to foster critical thinking, spirituality, and the pursuit of knowledge of its own sake,” said an official document describing the school’s educational philosophy. The overwhelming result of the modern approach to education is that it prepares students to be little more than “producers and consumers” whose lives are defined by worldly success but a feeling of spiritual emptiness, the document noted.
The purpose of a classical education is to help the students create a more comprehensive vision of reality by teaching classes in a way that allows students to comprehend how the different parts of reality relate to one another and to their Creator. More specifically, Chesterton Academies are rooted in a classical vision of education filtered through the Catholic worldview, seeing all things as being done in the service of God and our relationship with Him, and seeing theology as the epitome of all academic pursuits.
The next entrance exam for the Chesterton Academy will be held on February 18. For those interested in learning more, they can contact the school at 401-287-2280, email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out a parent survey online at https://www.chestertonri.org/parent-survey.