Wednesday, June 5, 2013

The Re-Birth of St. Gregory's Academy

The re-resurgence of St. Gregory's academy gives me hope.  This is an institution worth considering.  From 1993-2012, it was an "'experiment in tradition' that began when the Fraternity of St. Peter hired Mr. Alan Hicks as the founding headmaster in 1993. In 2003 the leadership of the school passed to Mr. Howard Clark." (from their previous website)  Below is an update that was sent out to all those on the mailing list.  It was encouraging to say the least.  Here is a link to the academy's website:  http://gregorythegreatacademy.org/press/

I will be doing my best to attempt an interview from Mr. Howard Clark in the near future.  Until then, here is the update:

Dear Friends,

By now you have all heard the news that Gregory the Great Academy will open its doors this fall. We stand in humble gratitude to Our Lord for this gift, and to all of you for your wonderful support. As you can imagine, many challenges lay before us to get ready for the school year, and we are beginning to take them on with cheer and faith.

Here is some more information about our situation:

The facility we have secured is the main lodge at a Pocono family resort called Chestnut Grove. The building is about 8,000 square feet and has several large country-style inn rooms that can house 15-20 students and 5 resident dorm fathers and teachers. There is a large industrial kitchen, an airy dining room, and a common area. The lodge stands on the resort’s property of about 20 acres, including a soccer field, tennis and basketball courts, a pond, and other amenities that our students will be able to take advantage of during recreation and study. The resort is about 30 miles from Scranton in Swiftwater, PA.

As Mr. Clark mentioned in an earlier correspondence, this location is not ideal—but it does offer us a suitable place to become established and keep our traditions alive. We are all very excited to undertake this project and thank you for your continued support.

We are beginning to assemble the faculty and staff for the upcoming year. Many familiar faces will be a part of this start-up project, although given the limitations in student numbers and the budget, the staff will be a small, tight-knit team. That being said, it will be a strong team, able to offer substantial academic courses and an organized athletic program. As soon as matters in this area have been ascertained, we will announce the members of our new faculty and staff.

Regarding athletics, we will be coordinating with Coach van Beek to involve our students in several different programs. Track and field is an area that Coach van Beek has expressed enthusiasm for, along with participating with indoor soccer clubs. Every effort will be made to patch a rugby team together, and a possibility exists of entering Division 2 in the local league. Besides these more competitive endeavors, the students will have ample space and opportunity to enjoy intramural sporting activities.

Mr. Clark and I had a very favorable interview this week with Fr. Michael Salnicky, a Ukrainian Byzantine Catholic priest whose parish church of St. Nicholas is only a short drive from the resort. Fr. Michael has agreed to enter into negotiations for his involvement as chaplain for the academy, providing the sacraments on a regular basis and religious instruction. Fr. Michael is a very interesting and engaging individual, with many fascinating experiences and hobbies that include firefighting, scuba diving, caribou hunting, sailing, and flying aircraft. Most importantly, Fr. Michael seems a very devout man, who works hard to do the work of Our Lord and to celebrate his ancient rite with beauty and reverence. We look forward to continuing our conversation with him.

The plan to begin on October 15th remains in place, with a detailed correspondence course for the first six weeks to compensate for this loss of time. An Academic Calendar shall be forthcoming. The possibility also exists that we will gather our students together on October 1st for a 2-week pilgrimage over the Appalachian Trail. Again, as we finalize these plans, we will inform all of you.

Once again, we are very grateful for your prayers and support throughout this year of development. Thanks to you we are now all looking forward to our maiden voyage as an independent institution. Please continue to remember us in your prayers and your charitable giving—we will need both to make this year a success. Also, please spread the word about Gregory the Great Academy among people you know who may be interested in our mission.

You shall hear from us again soon.

In Christ,
Howard Clark and Sean Fitzpatrick
GGA Development Committee

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