Introducing our new Shopclass

Introducing our new Shopclass

Susana Cortes, a professional chef and our French teacher,
leads the students in cooking an Italian dish earlier this year.

Friends,

A holistic education gives students experiences that come from the satisfaction of work done well. As St. John Paul II wrote, “work is a good thing for man – a good thing for his humanity – because through work man not only transforms nature . . . but he also achieves fulfillment as a human being.” (Laborem Exercens, 9.) Education, after all, “is of the hand as well as of the head and heart,” as Pulitzer Prize winner Mark van Doren once said. Offering our students fulfillment and opportunity is one of core strengths.

To help achieve this goal, this year we have introduced a new Shopclass course. The course, taken this inaugural year by all of our students, is divided into three portions: Cooking, Woodworking, and Sewing. Taught by a professional chef, handyman, and two local artisans, respectively, the course imparts skills, fosters creativity, and cultivates focus – all of which complement the academic and spiritual formation at the heart of our school.

Bert Drummond, Owner and Operator of Southbound Handyman, shows students how to use a handsaw in their first woodworking course.

This winter, students in woodworking will be building the workbenches upon which they and future students will create projects that are both useful and aesthetically satisfying. Students will use basic tools to work, shape, and join wood together to make something beautiful and functional.

 At Cardinal Newman Academy, we’re serious about forming well rounded young men and women. For that reason, our curriculum imparts a tremendous breadth of knowledge and experience across disciplines. We are grateful to these professionals for teaching our students and enriching our program.

Pax Christi,

Stephen M. Fitzpatrick

Stephen M. Fitzpatrick

Head of School, Cardinal Newman Academy

Looking ahead to the Class of 2024

Looking ahead to the Class of 2024

Students at Cardinal Newman Academy enjoy the unique advantages of a small school.

Friends,

We are now accepting applications for the 2020-2021 school year. Next year, we will add our 12th and final grade and we are accepting applications for grades 9-12. To learn more about our admissions process and view our application materials, click here.

We are committed to academic excellence, the character development of our students, and our Catholic faith. We invite interested families of prospective students in grades 9-12 to visit and learn more about the unique advantages of our young school.

In particular, we welcome visitors and prospective students to the following upcoming events:

  • Student Shadow Day, Friday, November 8th;
  • Coffee with the Head of School, Wednesday, November 13th at 9 am.

To register your child to shadow or schedule a visit, please email [email protected].

We hope to see you soon!

Sincerely,

Stephen M. Fitzpatrick

Stephen M. Fitzpatrick

Head of School, Cardinal Newman Academy

Celebrating our patron’s canonization this week

Celebrating our patron’s canonization this week

Friends,

This Sunday, October 13th, we will join the universal Church in celebrating the canonization of SAINT John Henry Newman. The canonization of our patron is a wonderful blessing to our school community and brings several opportunities for our community to celebrate.

On Friday, October 11th, our students will be visiting St. Benedict Catholic School to share in this momentous occasion. Throughout the day, our students and faculty will be joining their fellow students at St. Benedict for various educational activities associated with John Henry Newman, including the singing of one of his hymns, learning about our patron’s life and work, and more. We are grateful for the opportunity.

We will continue our celebration Monday, October 14th, with our annual Family Picnic in honor of Cardinal Newman. This event brings both current and prospective families together for food, fun, and fellowship. This year, we will also be showing Bishop Robert Barron’s “John Henry Newman; The Convert,” an episode of “Catholicism: The Pivotal Players,” for those interested in learning more about the life and influence of our patron.

For those who would like to view the ceremony, this website offers additional viewing information as well as excellent content related to John Henry Newman.

We hope you can join us in celebration of our patron and in gratitude for his continued intercession in the life of our school.

Pax Christi,

Stephen M. Fitzpatrick

Stephen M. Fitzpatrick

Head of School, Cardinal Newman Academy

Our unique communal life

Our unique communal life

Faculty and students following mass at St. Edward’s

Friends,

At Cardinal Newman Academy, our teachers consciously strive to give our students the tools and skills they need to realize their full potential as human beings. This mission permeates everything we do. In fact, as a young, small school, it is one of our greatest strengths.

One of the ways we do this is through Enrichment, a unique feature of our school and one of the first things that attracted me to Cardinal Newman Academy. Briefly, the Enrichment Program sets aside 30 minutes from each day for the cultivation of our interior life – faculty and students alike. We live in a distracting and noisy world. The wisdom of the saints tells us to seek quiet, for it is in the gentle breeze that we find God and discover His will for our lives. Noise distracts us from self-reflection, which is necessary to live a fully human life and to attain our ultimate end: Heaven. So, amidst the rigors of Chemistry, Geometry, History and more, we pause each day.

Father Tochi Iwuji, Parochial Vicar at St. Bridget’s, recently joined us to offer a spiritual reflection

Another benefit is that this communal time for prayer allows us to lift each other up and enriches our school family. Most importantly, this time allows us all to grow closer to Christ. Every Tuesday, our Enrichment period takes us to St. Edward the Confessor for weekly mass. We are blessed to be able to join our neighbors at St. Edward’s and St. Edward-Epiphany School.

Together, our faculty and students learn, grow, and pray together. Through this time together, and the relationships it helps foster, our students receive a one-of-a-kind formation that prepares them for life.

Pax Christi,

Stephen M. Fitzpatrick

Stephen M. Fitzpatrick

Head of School, Cardinal Newman Academy

Introducing our Public Speaking course

Introducing our Public Speaking course

Friends,

​Our curriculum at Cardinal Newman Academy is designed to provide the intellectual formation and character development needed for success and flourishing. At the heart of both is effective communication.

Whether it is in our education, profession, or the relationships that bring meaning to our lives, communication is at the core of being human. For that reason, it is at the core of the education our students receive at Cardinal Newman Academy.

This year, we are excited to offer a 12-week Public Speaking elective. In this course, students will be given a foundation in effective oral communication. Working together as a collaborative team, our students will compose and deliver brief speeches and grow together in confidence and ability. During their first class, for example, students learned some of the basics: what to do with their bodies, how to breathe, and how to take control of a room prior to delivering a speech.

Both inside the classroom and out, we strive each day to instill in our students the habits and tools needed to become good communicators. We are excited to welcome Mr. Cliff Bruce to lead our students in this new course. His passion and experience are a great addition to our program.

Pax Christi,

Stephen M. Fitzpatrick

Stephen M. Fitzpatrick

Head of School, Cardinal Newman Academy

Rescuing True Education by Rediscovering the Whole

Rescuing True Education by Rediscovering the Whole

by Stephen Fitzpatrick

It was 95 degrees outside. 

I had just finished digging a hole for a mailbox in the rocky Virginia clay by the side of a parking lot. As I was bending over the hole, pouring concrete into it, a thought came to me: this isn’t what I was expecting.

When I took the job as Head of School at Cardinal Newman Academy a few months ago, I didn’t know it would involve moving pianos (not a joke) and installing mailboxes. But I also can’t say that I’m too surprised. We are still young, and we just moved locations. The Head of a small independent school has to wear many hats. That just comes with the territory and I am happy to do what it takes in order to offer an excellent education to the young men and women under my charge.

When I was not busy with manual labor, I was also doing some preparation work of an intellectual nature. The patron for our school is Blessed (soon to be Saint) John Henry Cardinal Newman. I have therefore been reading his famous work on education, The Idea of a University. In these series of lectures, Newman makes many sensible claims concerning the nature of a true education. Among these is his statement that one is not truly educated unless one has a sense of the whole.

“That only is true enlargement of mind which is the power of viewing many things at once as one whole, of referencing them severally to their true place in the universal system, of understanding their respective values, and determining their mutual dependence.”

It is not enough to know something, or even much, about this or that topic, or even about many and various topics, if you are unable to relate these disciplines to each other. If at the end of your education, you have accumulated knowledge about a good many things, but these things form an unconnected archipelago, you have not gained an education. If, however, the various islands of your knowledge are interconnected by many bridges, you have what Newman calls a philosophical state of mind, which is the characteristic mark of the educated man.

In this view, Newman echoes ancient philosophers such as Aristotle who held that wisdom lay in the connections: in the ability to see how seemingly disparate things relate to each other.

The wise man has a grasp of the whole and is therefore able to assimilate any new truth into his existent framework.

Without this framework, argues Newman, people are at the mercy of emotional rhetoric and popular feeling. They are not able to work out difficulties on their own. They lack the tools necessary to figure out their place in the world. They do not recognize the truth. And education, after all, is about the truth. The truth is the proper object of the intellect, and all truths are reflections of the one Truth. All knowledge is ultimately about one Subject. This is why the connections are so vital to wisdom.

The big picture for which one should strive, will be akin to the image given to us by Dante at the end of his Divine Comedy.

Dante beholds the Divine center blazing with a brilliant light that he can only see having been granted a power of vision beyond the lot of earth-bound men. Around this center orbit the angels and the saints.

{

I’d seen the general form of Paradise –
my gaze had grasped the pattern of the whole
without yet fixing on a certain place,
And I turned with a fresh fire in the soul
To ask my Lady of those things I see
That hold my intellect in some suspense.

(Paradise, Canto 31, lines 52-57)

In my analogy, the angels and saints represent the correct objects of the particular sciences and disciplines. They can be individually studied, and that to a good purpose, but without the light at the center they lose their meaning and their true significance. Indeed, they would not even be visible at all but for the life-giving light.

The whole cosmology must be at least partially grasped to know what to make of the parts, for the parts form a beautiful and ordered whole. This whole is what the good educator strives to show his students, and this is what Newman considered to be of the utmost importance in the mission of a University.

But I do not run a University, I run a high school.

What does this look like in our high school classrooms?

I had a wonderful example of that speaking with a craftsman who will be teaching a woodworking class to our students. That seems straightforward enough: the students will get the valuable experience of working with the stuff of this world and shaping it into something useful and, hopefully, beautiful. But if one has this vision of the whole, it can go further.

The woodworking teacher told me how he also wanted the students to read for his class. Between classes the students would be assigned passages from, among others, Pope Saint John Paul II and Saint Benedict in which they speak about the sanctity of work and the innate desire in man to be, albeit in a small way, co-creators with God. The teacher wanted the students to see how woodworking fulfills a deep and holy desire in man to take the “good” creation of God and offer it back to Him, re-fashioned and made beautiful through the use of his hands coupled with his unique gift of reason.

Woodworking class is now examining the nature of mankind and how he is supposed to relate to the rest of the physical creation. This is a beautiful and profound plan for integrating a woodworking class into this bigger picture, and doing it in a way accessible to high school students.

They will still make tables and shelves but the whole tone of the class has been elevated. Bridges have been built.

The more a teacher is able to make these connections for his students, the more of a holistic view he gives them. Teachers should consciously try to impart this idea of the bigger picture while teaching whatever part of it they are assigned.

It is good for the students to contemplate the mysterious order in creation in a Geometry class. It is good for them to admire a beautifully-crafted sentence in a history book. It is good for them to rest in the poetic wonder that all of the energy that powers their own bodies ultimately comes from the sun. It is good for them to learn with their bodies as well as their minds. We are both, after all.

A holistic education is one that integrates everything into a beautiful big picture with God at the center, giving meaning to everything else. The rediscovering and communicating of this whole must be a priority for any good school.

I contemplated all of this as I was sweating in the hot weather wondering if my hole was deep enough (and very much hoping that it was).

Anyone who passed me might have taken me for a contractor, instead of the Head of School. What I was doing only made sense with a proper understanding of the big picture; an integrated view of the whole.

My very situation was a small example illustrating the larger principle I had been reading the day before in The Idea of a University. I welcomed the reminder as I plan my own classes for the coming semester.

 

 

Stephen M. Fitzpatrick

Stephen M. Fitzpatrick

Head of School, Cardinal Newman Academy

We’re Moving To Chesterfield County

We’re Moving To Chesterfield County

Dear Friends,

We’re moving! It’s been a busy couple of months for us at Cardinal Newman Academy, and we are thrilled to announce that our new home is in Bon Air, in northern Chesterfield County. We have agreed to a four-year lease to rent the school building formerly occupied by St. Michael’s Episcopal Elementary School at 8706 Quaker Lane, Bon Air, VA, 23235. Along with welcoming our new Head of School, Steve Fitzpatrick, this move is a significant milestone in our continued growth as we enter our third academic year.

Steve Fitzpatrick (Head of School), Eileen Lapington (Founding Director), and John O’Herron (President)

At our new campus, we now have expanded amenities and room to grow. Inside, we are renting approximately 7,000 sq. feet, which includes an office, four large classrooms, and a large Atrium. We also enjoy shared use of a kitchen, stage, and multi-purpose room. We are excited to also have shared use of a gym (pictured above, on the left), outdoor basketball courts, and fields. These amenities will allow us to continue expanding our athletic, academic, and extra-curricular offerings. We will also be able to create, for the first time, a school chapel.

More outdoor space awaits our students and faculty

 

Four large classrooms and an office surround a large Atrium
(shown holding furniture during our move)

 

Head of School Steve Fitzpatrick and faculty member Greg Tito helping with our move

 

In many ways, the West End facility we opened in was perfect for our size and needs. As we enter our third year and look ahead to sustained growth into the future, we could not be more thrilled with our new facility. We look forward to completing our move and opening our doors to welcome you, our community of supporters, to our exciting new space.

In Christ,

John P. O’Herron
President

Cardinal Newman Academy is officially in the Candidacy Phase for Canonical Recognition

Cardinal Newman Academy is officially in the Candidacy Phase for Canonical Recognition

Dear Friends,

On behalf of our Board of Directors, I am pleased to announce that Cardinal Newman Academy is officially in the candidacy phase for canonical recognition by His Excellency, Bishop Knestout, as an independent Catholic school.

The Diocesan process includes review of both the academic and spiritual life at Cardinal Newman Academy. The candidacy phase will continue until the Office of Catholic Schools conducts a review and offers a recommendation to the Bishop based on our curriculum and instruction. This review is tentatively scheduled for the 2020-21 school year.

In addition, the Vicar for Catholic Mission and Vision will review our adherence to the Diocesan religion curriculum and education guidelines. Following these reviews, Bishop Knestout will make a determination of our status as a Catholic school.

Since our founding, our efforts have been directed at growing an excellent college preparatory high school, preparing our students for college and the modern world, and contributing to the life of the Church here in Richmond and beyond. Critical to these goals is our desire that Cardinal Newman Academy be imbued with the spirit of the Gospel and in communion with the Bishop of Richmond.

We are grateful for this milestone in our continue growth and look forward to working with His Excellency, the Office of Catholic Schools, and the Vicar for Catholic Mission and Vision.

In Christ,

John P. O’Herron
President

Poetic Knowledge in Education: The Importance of Wonder & Delight

Poetic Knowledge in Education: The Importance of Wonder & Delight

A lecture by Stephen Fitzpatrick.

Q&A to follow.

Saturday: April 27,
7-9pm
7250 Patterson Avenue

Hors d’oeuvres and light refreshments will be served.

Stephen Fitzpatrick holds degrees from Thomas Aquinas College and the University of Scranton, and has been an educator for 15 years. This fall he will assume the position of Head of School at Cardinal Newman Academy.

Forming Relationships with our Students

Forming Relationships with our Students

Dear Friends,

As our third quarter ended last week, my medieval European history class had a final test on the Crusades. Both the students and I had hopes for this test: I hoped to see our efforts developing prewriting and organizational techniques work to their benefit, and they wanted to do well on a test measuring content knowledge of a topic they enjoyed.

When I wrote the test, I thought of Seneca’s advice on the role of a teacher: namely, that the teacher and the student ought to share the common goal of seeking the advancement of the student.

At Cardinal Newman Academy, we as teachers have several advantages in forming relationships with our students that help them see that our goals match as Seneca suggests. Our small size allows us to be more accessible to our students, enabling additional academic help as needed.

Our students are able to get to know us outside the classroom and as members of our own families and communities, whether that be through athletic events, community gatherings, or service opportunities. We teachers, in turn, learn a great deal about our students’ interests and families, their ways of thinking and forming opinions, and areas in which we can help them grow.

Our class schedule is built to enhance these opportunities also, particularly our Lunch Conference. Several times per week, our longer lunch period enables teachers and students to interact socially and collegially.

We have enjoyed using this time to talk about a book we are reading, a movie we saw, or even to play a board game. Board games are wonderful ways to enjoy the company, competitive energy, and strategic thinking skills of our students.

From Backgammon to Happy Families (in French or Latin) to Senet to Battle Line, board games are truly a time when teachers and students share a common purpose – and winning surely benefits and advances the student!

In Christ,

Eileen Lapington Cardinal Newman Academy

Eileen M. Lapington
Director
Cardinal Newman Academy

Interested in learning more about our growing academic and faith community?

Address

8706 Quaker Ln.
North Chesterfield, VA 23235

Copyright © Cardinal Newman Academy 2017 All Rights Reserved | Sitemap | Contractor Marketing by Enable