Updated: February 02, 2021 06:57 PM
Created: February 02, 2021 10:29 AM
Stella Maris Academy (SMA) announced the anticipated opening of a Catholic high school expected to open in Fall 2022.
In a press release, it is explained that the introduction of a Catholic high school at this time is supported by its strong enrollment, currently at 474 students in grades Pre-K through 8th grade. The Academy explained it is also well-supported by generous donors, with SMA exhibiting healthy and stable finances, it allows them to take this next step.
The academy said they were also focused on stabilizing the three separate schools at first that came together to be one school a few years ago.
"This has always been in the works. This has always been part of the dream. We're actually taking the step now to fulfill that dream," said Father Anthony Wroblewski, the director of the school board for Stella Maris and administrator of Cathedral of Our Lady of the Rosary.
Existing facilities will be used to house the high school, keeping costs to a minimum and allowing for efficiencies as the academy expands. They plan on potentially shifting grades between the three campuses of Holy Rosary, St. John's, and St. James.
Also with distance learning in play, they know they can go beyond the buildings to offer catholic education to the community.
"We had no idea this was coming so it was pretty exciting. Our principal kept saying we have some exciting news and then finally he said it and we were taken back because we had tried this a couple of years ago too," said Carole Zanardi, a third grade teacher at the Holy Rosary campus.
Academy staff said this is something families have been asking for. They added this was also the dream of the late bishop Paul Sirba and are happy to finally see it flourish.
To support this period of significant growth of the school, Stella Maris Academy will immediately begin a search to fill the role of Academy President. The president will be responsible for leading the academy through this period of change as well as providing oversight of the entire academy.
The former president resigned over a year ago and with COVID-19, the academy said they were not able to do a search for a new president right away.
"This would be the only Catholic high school that is directly supported by the diocese in the entire diocese, not just the city of Duluth so this will be directly supported by the diocese and the parishes here in Duluth," said Wroblewski.
"I think that in Catholic education, we see a lot of very good things that come out of it. I think being able to continue it after middle school that there will be parents who like this not only just for the Duluth community but maybe we'll draw from smaller communities too around the area who don't have that opportunity," said Zanardi.
Applications for the Academy President are being accepted until the appropriate candidate is chosen, with new leadership in place no later than the beginning of the next fiscal year, which is on July 1 this year.
"Whenever you are looking to be able to expand any kind of ministry anywhere, it generates a great amount of excitement. To be able to have the opportunity to fulfill the dream that Stella Morris had in the beginning and that Bishop Sirba had at the beginning of offering that continuum, it's just an exciting thing to be a part of. I really look forward to doing the hard work that will get us to the fall of 2022," said Wroblewski.
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