All Boys Catholic Boarding School Under Construction in Fort Sco - FOX 14 TV Joplin and Pittsburg News Weather Sports |

All Boys Catholic Boarding School Under Construction in Fort Scott with Working Farm


A new school is under construction in Fort Scott, Kansas. It's a boarding school. While more common in European countries and northeastern United States, the endeavor is the work of two men whove personally experienced boarding school.

Daniel Kerr grew up on a  Fort Scott  farm off Indian Road. Now it will be part of an all boys Catholic boarding school that he's building with friend and  headmaster Patrick Whalen.  The school buildings will sit on five acres that connect to two hundred more acres. It includes a large pond and trails. Kerr and Whalen met at a boarding school in Pennsylvania and say it was  an experience that changed their lives.
Kerr said, "Both Patrick and I went to a place where the imagination was able to flourish, where we were immersed in our faith, where we formed bonds with our  fellow students and the faculty that have been life long bonds."

St. Martin's Academy will be  a private Catholic boarding school focusing on faith, leadership and academics.
Headmaster Patrick Whalen explained, "The boys are going to be studying together so there
s a community, an intellectual community the boys are gonna share after hours each evening."
The first year the school will be for freshman and sophomores. Eventually juniors and seniors will be added to create a four year high school.   Whalen who served nine years active duty  in the marines said  cabins will be added where twelve students will live in what they call squads with a senior student leader. There all  students will learn leadership by  living together and assuming responsibilities.

Whalen said,  "A lot of the organizational  structure we're gonna bring to the school here. It
s not a military school. Its not a reform school either but those leadership lessons, theyre the same wherever you go."

Students will be working the farm  on a daily basis but the chores won't just teach them responsibility it will become an outdoor classroom

Whalen explained, "Think of chemistry. If you're studying nitrogen properties  in the classroom, what better  way to understand what that means than to go out to the greenhouse and see the effects of nitrogen on different plants that you personally planted  and that you'll be eating in a week."

Kerr said the outdoors spur creativity,  "Rather than being inside and being attached to a screen.  I think it
s a great theater for play and discovery."

Whalen said the hands on nature lends itself especially to boys who often dont care a lot about school because they cant see why it matters.

Whalen said theyve already started receiving inquiries and even some applications. We're a Catholic boarding school, so I think we'll appeal chiefly to Catholic families that want for their sons to have a significant experience outdoors, to have significant hands on encounter with reality, the real  world, working with animals and experiencing the seasons. And families who take the practice of the  faith very seriously. One of the benefits of the boarding environment is that we can cultivate the life of the faith. They'll be praying morning prayers, attending daily mass, they’ll have the sacraments  available to them every day. A real community of faith that we can create here.”

We asked Whalen if it’s a leap of faith. He responded, “It is a leap of faith and thats important to us as a faith based school. And we open this fall and theres already been a tremendous outpouring  of interest, lots of families interested.

Tuition  for each year which includes everything is nineteen thousand, five hundred dollars. But Whalen said financial aid is available. And he said that compares to other boarding schools nationally which charge around thirty thousand dollars.

Construction should be completed on Saint Martin
s Academy in July with the first fifteen to twenty  students and ten faculty and staff   on campus in September.

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