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Q&A: Fostering ‘wonder and awe’ at Blessed Miguel Pro Academy

The mission of Catholic education extends far beyond academic formation. With a foundation rooted firmly in the truth of the Gospel, Catholic schools are tasked with forming the hearts, bodies, minds and souls of their students.

The Catholic schools of the Archdiocese of Denver are fervent carriers of this mission, and a brand-new regional Catholic school in Denver is joining the cause. Blessed Miguel Pro Academy started its first week of school Aug. 24.

Named for Blessed Father Miguel Pro, a Jesuit priest who courageously spread the Catholic faith in Mexico, this new Catholic Academy seeks to form its students using his witness of faith and discipleship as a guide. Educating students through the lens of a Catholic worldview is at the heart of the school’s mission.

“Blessed Miguel Pro is such a fitting patron for our school for so many reasons,” said Elias Moo, Superintendent of Denver’s Catholic Schools. “He is a modern saint who gave a strong and joyful witness to his great love for Christ and for the Church in the face of so many challenges. His life beautifully captures the spirit we have embraced for our newest school.”

Blessed Miguel Pro Catholic Academy is a new regional school in the Archdiocese of Denver. (Photos by Carol Nesbitt)

Embracing that spirit of Blessed Miguel Pro, Dr. Ann Zeches will serve as the new school’s principal.

The faculty and staff are excited about infusing the Catholic worldview into their daily lessons and student’s lives,” said Dr. Zeches. “All want the students to graduate knowing the truth of our faith that will guide students to greater things in life…heaven!”

We spoke to Dr. Zeches about the launch of Blessed Miguel Pro and her vision for the Archdiocese of Denver’s newest Catholic school.

Denver Catholic: How did Blessed Miguel Pro Academy come to be?
Dr. Ann Zeches: Catholic education is very important in this turbulent world.  Catholic education has suffered a decrease in enrollment throughout the country.  As enrollment decreases, hard decisions have to be made.  Many schools in the Archdiocese of Denver were located near each other with the same opportunities for students but seeing enrollment numbers decreasing.  Superintendent Elias Moo had the vision to create a regional school.  To create a strong educational environment for our students, it was decided to merge St. Catherine of Siena School and Holy Trinity.  This allows resources to be used more wisely for students in fulfilling the mission of Catholic Schools.

DC: What sets Blessed Miguel Pro apart from other Catholic schools in the Archdiocese of Denver?
Dr. Zeches
: Blessed Miguel Catholic Academy elects to imitate and model the life of Miguel Pro.  With that in mind, we have developed our “Pro Habits.”  These “habits” will be infused throughout our campus through strong academics and a supportive community. Our students will strive to be faithful, joyful, temperate, humble, pious, courageous, and loving.

Dr. Ann Zeches, Blessed Miguel Pro’s principal, hopes to foster a learning environment filled with “wonder and awe” for its students.

DC: As the school’s principal, what is your vision for Blessed Miguel Pro?
Dr. Zeches:
The school’s mission statement guides my vision for the school.  Each child is born with the gift of wonder and awe.  My vision for students is never to lose that wonder and awe while opening the students’ lives to wisdom, virtue, and truth – the Catholic Worldview.

DC: What would your message be to parents who are on the fence about sending their children to Catholic school but have Bl. Miguel Pro as a new option for their child?
Dr. Zeches:
In this turbulent world, students need to be given the time to develop deep skills to think critically, reason logically, and articulate clearly. Blessed Miguel Pro creates an atmosphere of learning as opposed to test-taking, which is found in many schools.  We want to give our students the time to develop these skills which will lead them to the “truth” of our lives.

Learn more at miguelpro.org.

Aaron Lambert
Aaron is the Managing Editor for the Denver Catholic.
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