Save John Paul the Great Academy!

I get a fair number of requests asking me to spread the word about various causes. Even though most of them seem like good causes, it’s not very feasible (or a good use of the blog) to reduce it to advertising for every worthy cause that needs money. But I am making a partial exception to that for John Paul the Great Academy, a Catholic K-12 in Lafayette, Louisiana. Due to a donor backing out last-minute, the school is in danger of closing its doors. And from the look of the school’s website (which, really, you should check out), that’d be a true loss.

I asked Nick Trosclair, who originally reached out to me about this situation, to write up a summary that I could share with you. Here’s Nick:

Save John Paul the Great Academy!

Public education has failed. Due to the specialization of knowledge within the very heart of modern pedagogy, a series of tragic divorces has ensued. Parents have been divorced from the intellectual formation of their children, the classical arts from the empirical sciences, and, most conspicuously, knowledge from virtue. Thus, Truth, Goodness, and Beauty are no longer found in the modern, government-driven education system. C.S. Lewis was right—we are producing a race of “men without chests,” men who can no longer enter the Great Conversation of Western Tradition and, thus, they are no longer able to develop the wisdom and virtues which have always been one with that Tradition.

Because grace perfects nature, the Church has always been the salt by which Western Tradition has been preserved in both its intellectual and spiritual content. John Paul the Great Academy was created to continue this essential mission of the Church. We are a young (it is our fifth year) K-12 classical school in Lafayette, Louisiana whose mission is to preserve the Western Tradition through the study of the liberal arts, the sciences, and the virtues in the context of the Roman Catholic Tradition (link to school’s philosophy of education). With this clear mission always in mind, the patrons, parents, and teachers are providing their children with a true liberal education. They are teaching students more than mere facts or technological skills, instead providing the intellectual and spiritual tools by which each student is set free to investigate reality in all of its mystery. Rejecting the widespread canard that education is only for economic success, the families of John Paul the Great Academy view education explicitly as the path for the soul to find joy in the contemplation of Truth, Goodness, and Beauty.

Knowing that the family is the natural community whereby children first know reality, John Paul the Great Academy has fully embraced the principle of subsidiarity. Indeed, it is family-driven school. We look to the parents as the primary educators and assist them in the intellectual and moral formation of their children. Teaching, as Aristotle observed, is a cooperative art whereby we assist the intellectual growth of persons surrounded by the family. It is only within the context of the family that the intellectual and moral virtues of each human person may properly grow. Guided by this philosophy, the school has produced fruit that has been most impressive. Thus far, five out of our nine male graduates are seminarians. From Calculus to Latin, our students are excelling in all the classical arts. Each one of our students is guided to understand these subjects in the context of what Mortimer Adler called The Great Conversation of Western Tradition. The crown and majesty of that tradition is Divine Revelation. We are most proud that our students not only come to know the world through the vehicle of Western Tradition, but that our students are learning how to understand the sacramental vision of the universe and themselves through what God has revealed in His Son—Fides quaerens intellectum.

This month, our school suffered a major blow. Recently, our school moved to its permanent campus. It is holy ground. Home of the De La Salle Christian Brothers, the property is graced with the Blessed Sacrament which is perpetually adored by our students, parents, teachers, and community. Earlier this year we were overjoyed that a generous donor was going to help us fully purchase the property. Unexpectedly, he backed out this month! If this information would have been given to us earlier we could have recovered and raised enough money to purchase the property ourselves. But as any administrator knows, a school cannot be given such grave news so late in the year. Our community and parishes surrounding us have been supportive every step of the way, but this last hurdle may end the very existence of our school.

We need your help! The current threat is extremely urgent and endangers all of our attempts to renew education through subsidiarity, sanctity, and classical education. Our need is financial at this point, but we ask for prayers and any help you may be able to offer. If we do not raise enough funds within the next two weeks, we will be kicked off of our campus and our operations will be shut down indefinitely. Here’s a link to our website, where we have a ‘Support JPG’ feature for any possible contributions—all of which, no matter how small, could help save our school no matter how small.

In the past, when the barbarians were at the gates, the monastic traditions of the Church preserved and promoted Catholic values. We now have every form of barbarism at the gates. Our work at John Paul the Great Academy is to be in the trenches, meeting this threat face-to-face. The goal is to carry out the work of the Incarnation: to renew the world. What starts in the educational endeavors of the academy extends to our families, to our communities, and to the culture at large. The classical tradition of education in the Church is what we preserve and promote. Please see our brochure (outside of brochure; inside of brochure)for more information.

In Pace Christi,

Nick Trosclair

1 Comment

  1. Here’s a link to the brochure:

    Thanks Joe for posting this and helping our school. Like Nick, I follow your blog and really appreciate the great work you are doing (and am thrilled that you will be entering seminary formation!).

    To you the shameless readers and supporters of this awesome blog, thank you for supporting Joe in his great work of living the new evangelization by providing excellent articles that inform, instruct, and often entertain. Please pray for our school and consider supporting us. The fruits of our first four years of operation have been amazing: more than half of our young men who have graduated in those first four years are in seminary formation (with several current students actively discerning with our vocations office), our campus houses a perpetual adoration chapel, we also house an order of religious nouns (The Preachers of Christ and Mary) who help our school as well as our surrounding community. We wish to continue this great work, but we need your prayers and support.

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