An air of anticipation and excitement greeted the students and parents who walked through the newly-opened doors of Frassati Catholic Academy for the first day of school Aug. 21.
The school, which adheres to the classical model of education in its curriculum, marked the first new school opening for the Archdiocese of Denver since Our Lady of Loreto Catholic School in 2012.
Located at 133rd Avenue and Colorado Boulevard in Thornton, the buzz surrounding the new school has been potent since it was announced nearly a year ago, and as of the first day, 170 students in grades pre-kindergarten through sixth were enrolled, with more applications rolling in.
Archbishop Samuel J. Aquila dedicated and blessed the school building, a vacant charter school that was purchased by the archdiocese last year. As the school day began, students, parents and teachers gathered in the “chapel-teria” for morning prayer, led by school principal Sara Alkayali.
“This has been so long in the making, and it has finally come to fruition,” Alkayali said. “Not only that, we’ve had so many moments where we can tell the Holy Spirit [has been] guiding us.”
The school was named for Blessed Pier Giorgio Frassati by Archbishop Aquila because of the great example he is to young people. It is the first regional school in the archdiocese, seeking to serve those families that do not a have a school attached to their parish, and fills a need for a Catholic school in the northern suburbs of Denver – an area that is booming with growth and home to an already-strong Catholic presence.
“We are given this amazing opportunity to be surrounded by a strong community of Catholic families and staff that value faith in education,” said Mica Brougham, who has two of her four children, Chase and Cecilia, enrolled at Frassati. “In particular, we were drawn to Frassati because of the classical curriculum it offered, which focuses on the transcendent values of truth, goodness, and beauty.”
Frassati Catholic Academy seeks to instill academic excellence in its students through the classical model of education, which relies on three primary pillars: grammar, logic and rhetoric. The study of Latin, art and music is also a crucial piece of the classical tradition. The archdiocese sought to open another classical school after Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School implemented the classical model in 2011 and experienced a drastic increase in student enrollment.
Alongside the classical curriculum, what truly separates Frassati Catholic Academy from other K-8 schools in the area is its Catholic identity. Local priests will say a weekly Mass at the school, while prayer and religious formation serve as the foundation for the curriculum.
Archbishop Aquila explained to the students what makes Frassati a different and special kind of school during the blessing and dedication of the building.
“We’re able to talk about God and help each one of you come to know and love Jesus,” he said. “If we open our hearts to him, Jesus helps us to become the best person we can possibly become. He desires for each one of us to be with him forever in Heaven. Each one of you has been created for Heaven.”
Frassati by the numbers
Total number of students on the first day of school: 166
Grades served on first day of school: Preschool 3-year-olds through 6th grade
Total number of solar eclipse glasses distributed and used by parents, students, teachers, administrators, a priest, and an Archbishop: 200
Number of prayers said as a Frassati community on the first day of school: too numerous to count!
Featured image by Andrew Wright | Denver Catholic