Is a dream by that STREAM so sublime?

Benedictine_High_SchoolNow that Benedictine College Preparatory has moved to broader pastures in Goochland County, the Diocese of Richmond is announcing its plans for the historic building the cadets left behind.

The diocese purchased the iconic building from the Benedictine Society of Virginia to keep it from falling into the hands of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts — a state agency. Now, after months of rumors and speculation, the diocese has announced that old Benedictine will become a “magnet” middle school — Saint Katharine Drexel Preparatory — focusing on science, technology, religion, engineering, art and mathematics.

Drexel is scheduled to open in August 2014. Where will the students come from? From Saint Bridget, Saint Mary, Saint Edward-Epiphany and Our Lady of Lourdes? Not likely. These are all well-regarded, established Catholic schools with multiple awards for academic excellence.

From Saint Benedict, which has been trying to create a niche as a K-8 Catholic classical school? The diocesan plan for a “STREAM” school (why must Catholic educators ape the public education penchant for idiotic acronyms?) is a repudiation of the vision of the reform-of-the-reform minded parish, which contributed significantly to the deal that kept old Benedictine in Catholic hands.

What about Catholic families whose children attend suburban Richmond’s excellent public schools? Are they likely to abandon their county schools to pay tuition at Drexel?

Richmond Catholic also questions the Drexel concept. Engineering? For middle school students who are still trying to master algebra and geometry?

The “project manager” for Drexel — judging from today’s Richmond newspaper — sees the concept as responsive to the great-leap-forward pretensions of the Obama administration, with a dollop of religion to make sure students are “well rounded.”

Richmond Catholic believes that a wiser course for the diocese would be to build on the strengths of the city’s existing Catholic schools.



  1. I agree with every word written in the article. May I ask who wrote this piece for publication?

  2. Written by the editors of Richmond Catholic, based on correspondence from parties within the parish and diocese central office.

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