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HomeLocalAround the ArchdioceseAn answered prayer, new Catholic high school campus coming to Northern Colorado

An answered prayer, new Catholic high school campus coming to Northern Colorado

After more than 50 years of studies and discussion, a new Catholic high school campus is slated for Northern Colorado as St. John Paul II High School closed on its new 44-acre property in Johnstown.

Beginning with the efforts of the late Doctor Richard Kemme and others, the new Catholic high school campus has been long awaited. It is clearly seen as the culmination of prayer, fundraising and work in the northern Colorado community.

“This is the fulfillment of something that has been long awaited, a significant promise that we were hoping to see come to fruition,” said Blaise Hockel, headmaster of St. John Paul II High School. “In many people’s eyes, this is the culmination of half a century’s effort to try and build up the Church and her mission in northern Colorado. We’re really grateful for the chance to be able to do it.”

“I’m thrilled that our children in this area can experience Christ’s joy, grow in character and develop logical skills in the arts and sciences,” said Dr. Kemmery Hill, newly appointed Superintendent of Catholic Schools, celebrating the new campus.

“The community at large has put their heart and soul into this project,” Hockel continued, noting the overwhelmingly positive response from parents, volunteers and community members from nearly all of the parishes in the region.

The new school campus is a project near and dear to Annette Leazer’s heart, as it is for many community members. Leazer, the school’s board of trustees treasurer, is passionate about supporting the new campus.

A St. Joseph Catholic School, Fort Collins graduate, Leazer recalled her mother’s laments over the area’s lack of Catholic high schools. “Giving her children a Catholic education was the one thing she insisted on having happen while raising her family,” she told the Denver Catholic. “There are many people like me who see the value of Catholic education and are excited to see the possibility of a Catholic high school coming to fruition.”

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Citing the decline in public education and the need for education that aligns with Catholic values, Leazer emphasized the community’s support of the new campus. “There are many Catholics looking to this new high school to give their children and grandchildren a safer and higher-quality learning environment,” she said.

“The groundbreaking for this new campus is a wonderful opportunity to communicate to the larger community that we are serious about Catholic education, that we are committed to building a Catholic high school, that we are determined to bring Catholics together in this cause, and that we must be untiring in sustaining this school for future generations,” she continued.

Currently serving 45 students at Our Lady of the Valley Parish in Windsor, the school plans to ramp up enrollment to fill the new campus, which will have a capacity of 200-300 students.

Complete with a sports field, gymnasium and chapel, the new campus will draw from classical Catholic architecture to “give evidence to the reality, the spiritual reality of what we’re trying to do academically,” Hockel said. “We designed it to be for God and then, therefore, for all of his people in his Church to be able to encounter him through the transcendental and through the work we’re trying to do collaboratively for the growth of our students.”

Indeed, above all else, the school campus will undoubtedly be a place of encounter with God. From that encounter, students will be formed intellectually, personally and spiritually so that they might become faithful men and women working for the good of the Kingdom in northern Colorado.

“My conviction is that high school is a critical time for young men and women to experience a deeper conversion to Christ and be properly formed in the faith, Deacon Rob Lanciotti, chair of the board of trustees, told the Denver Catholic.

“My desire has always been that we have a Catholic high school that provides the essentials of a good high school experience: solid academics, sports, art, music and more,” he continued. “However, above all these, it must be a place to encounter Christ, be transformed by his grace through daily access to the Eucharist and frequent confession, and grow in holiness and virtue. Our goal has been and will always be to work with Jesus to make saints!”

The future saints formed at the new St. John Paul II High School campus in Johnstown certainly stand on the shoulders of many giants and pillars of the community who worked tirelessly to see the school’s campus completed.

“We have an incredible amount of gratitude to the Archdiocese of Denver and Archbishop Aquila for their aid and support,” said Hockel. “We have an incredible amount of humility and gratitude for the parishes of northern Colorado and those volunteers that have been the reason why we exist today, from their work, dedication and prayer.”

“And that work is not over,” he continued, noting the ongoing fundraising efforts to achieve two subsequent phases of the campus’ establishment. “So anyone that wants to be a part of this mission still can contribute in a very real way in their prayerful support or monetary support so that we can extend this even further than we anticipated.”

For more information on St. John Paul II High School, visit https://jp2hs.com/.

To support the school and its new campus, visit https://jp2hs.com/donate/ and/or contact the school at (970) 281-5269.


André Escaleira, Jr.
André Escaleira, Jr.
André Escaleira is the Interim Managing Editor of the Denver Catholic and El Pueblo Católico, as well as the Digital & Social Media Manager for the Archdiocese of Denver. Originally from Connecticut, André moved to Denver in 2018 to work as a missionary with Christ in the City, where he served for two years.

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