School built around G.K. Chesterton to open in Highland Park

<p>Students at the G.K. Chesterton Academy in Minnesota participate in a Socratic Circle with an instructor.  |  Photo provided</p>

Students at the G.K. Chesterton Academy in Minnesota participate in a Socratic Circle with an instructor.  |  Photo provided

An independent high school offering a classical curriculum “through the lens of the Catholic faith” plans to open this September in space at the Immaculate Conception Parish in Highland Park.

The G. K. Chesterton Academy of Chicago will open this fall to its first freshman class in the parish school building at 770 Deerfield Road, Highland Park.

“The plan is to have the school grow each year with another incoming freshmen class,” President Roy Postel said. “It will take four years for us to get up to full speed.”

The first G.K. Chesterton Academy opened in 2008 in the Twin Cities of Minnesota and has an enrollment of 112 students.

The Highland Park school will be modeled after the flagship academy. According to a press release, the goal is to offer North Shore families “an affordable coed high school option where students are immersed in a classical curriculum which is steeped in the arts, integrated with the sciences and delivered through the lens of the Catholic faith.” The school will incorporate pro-family and pro-life values into the curriculum.

The Chesterton academies draw on the thinking and versatility of G. K Chesterton, a prolific English writer and lay theologian who lived from 1874 to 1936. Chesterton’s writings are part of the curriculum.

The Highland Park school will not be a Chicago Archdiocesan school but the archdiocese will be the school’s landlord.

Postel said the Highland Park location is ideal for its proximity to a Metra train station and easy accessibility from Route 41.

“It is very easy to get to for people in the southeastern portion of Lake County,” Postel said.

Demographic research showed 1,300 households with children of middle school age within a 7 to 10-mile radius.

Founders hope to open with 20 ninth grade students next fall. “Our business model calls for 20 students the first year,” Postel said. “We would be very happy with that enrollment.”

Founders are aware they are locating in an area known for the quality of its high schools.

“The Chesterton model recognizes that the high school experience for our students presently is vast but fragmented,” Postel said. “There is a great amount of specialization in the course offerings, sometimes to the point where it becomes an obstacle to students seeing the bigger picture.

“The Chesterton model restores an approach to education that worked quite well for centuries leading up to the start of the 20th century,” he said. “The Chesterton Academy is designed to develop students as complete thinkers, which is how (G.K.) Chesterton went about everything when he was on this earth.”

Postel said tuition will be around $6,500 including textbooks.

The Highland Park location is among three new Chesterton Academy schools set to open this fall. The other two are in Buffalo, New York and St. Cloud, Minn.

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