CHARLESTON—A new Catholic high school with a curriculum based on faith and classic texts is coming to Charleston.
Corpus Christi Academy, opening in fall 2021, will offer a high school education based on the classical model, with both virtual instruction from home and in-person classes. The goal is to move to more on-site instruction in 2022. The school will begin with ninth-graders in the fall and add a grade each year.
Parents from Corpus Christi Catholic Community started discussing ways to offer their children a classical Catholic education back in 2019, and plans continued during the pandemic. The parish meets in downtown Charleston and is part of the Ordinariate of the Chair of St. Peter, a non-territorial diocese that preserves Anglican liturgy and spirituality.
Father Patrick Allen, pastor of Corpus Christi, asked Nicole Koopman, a former history instructor at the College of Charleston, to become head of the new school in 2020.
Koopman received a classical education when she was growing up and already knew the positive effects the approach could have on young people. She believes the classical model will not only help prepare Corpus Christi students intellectually for a successful life, but also give them a solid spiritual and emotional foundation as well. The school’s curriculum will be built around the Catholic liberal arts tradition, with students reading and discussing classical works related to each subject and also being immersed in the history, tradition and teachings of the Church.
“We believe all knowledge is connected and unified through faith,” Koopman said. “Our students will learn how to read and discuss primary source texts with the faculty. Studying these great texts allows us to return to our Christian roots, and it teaches students how to think and ask deep questions.”
As an example of some of the classical works students will study, Koopman said freshman students, for instance, will begin by reading works by Homer in literature and studying original works by Euclid in geometry.
The academy’s students will also develop a strong foundation in their faith through participating in the life of the Church through daily prayer, liturgies and through studying Scripture and sacred music.
Koopman said the new school has the support of Bishop Robert E. Guglielmone. The Academy will not be a diocesan school, however, but will fall under the control of the Ordinariate. The new school will lease space from the diocese in a building off Ingram Road.
Erin Grober, a member of Corpus Christi Church, has been home-schooling her five children using the classical model for the past five years. Her oldest son was craving a high-school experience that would allow him to continue the classical curriculum while sharing it with other students, so Grober and her husband became involved in the effort to start Corpus Christi Academy.
She said the school’s approach will allow her children and others to not only study great works in every subject, but also discuss them one-on-one with instructors and other students.
“It’s not a competition between this model and other Catholic schools,” Grober said. “We’re giving Catholic parents and other parents more options. It’s a different kind of education than anyone is providing in the Charleston area right now.”
To learn more about Corpus Christi Academy, visit https://corpuschristiacademy.net/
The public is invited to learn more about Corpus Christi Academy at a presentation and open house at 6 p.m. April 22 at 1662 Ingram Road, Charleston. Email to RSVP at firstname.lastname@example.org