Holy Name High School—A Chesterton Academy to open

Holy Name School in Escanaba is shown. After decades of discussions about reopening a Holy Name High School, school officials have announced the school will open next fall. (Jessica Koth/Escanaba Daily Press photo)

ESCANABA — This fall, students throughout the entire Upper Peninsula will be able to receive Catholic education at Holy Name High School. The high school’s official name will be Holy Name High School–A Chesterton Academy.

Holy Name Catholic School Principal Joe Carlson explained some of the benefits of joining the network of Chesterton Schools: “Joining the Chesterton Schools Network will afford our students many exciting opportunities to build community with other faithful young adults through pilgrimages, mission trips, and the March for Life in Washington, D.C. The network is a well-oiled machine with a proven track record of academic success.” To illustrate this, Carlson noted that the national average ACT score is 21, yet Chesterton Academy’s average is 26.

According to its website, The Chesterton Schools Network is a nationwide network of 30 high schools in the United States, Canada, and Italy (with several additional schools–including HNHS–slated to open in 2021) that offer “joyfully Catholic, classical high schools” in which students enjoy an integrated, content-rich education.

The high school is named for English writer and Catholic convert G.K. Chesterton (1874-1936), who, according to ChestertonAcademy.org, exemplified the Catholic faith through a life filled with joy, wonder, and gratitude. Chesterton was considered one of the world’s most outstanding writers in the early 20th century. An accomplished novelist, essayist and poet, he wrote a hundred books on all different subjects. Some of his most poignant quotes include: “Men do not differ much about what things they will call evils; they differ enormously about what evils they will call excusable.” Two more show how plainly he spoke the truth: “Right is right, even if nobody does it,” and “All men can be criminals, if tempted. All men can be heroes, if inspired.”

HNHS–A Chesterton Academy

At HNHS–A Chesterton Academy, students will be inspired as they are exposed to many different disciplines that help them to expand their interests and uncover hidden talents, including not only literature, mathematics and science, but also four years of philosophy, foreign language, and art. In addition, Gladstone High School has graciously offered to partner with HNHS to offer students athletics. The high school will also offer its program online for students outside of the Escanaba area.

The Bishop of the Diocese of Marquette, John F. Doerfler, explains how Holy Name High School–A Chesterton Academy will offer students an exceptional education in an authentic Catholic environment through the Chesterton Schools Network: “The Chesterton Academy provides a solid curriculum that dovetails with the classical liberal arts curriculum in our grade schools,” Bishop Doerfler explained. “It is exciting to provide a seamless and solid program from elementary through high school to form the students spiritually, intellectually and personally. Fostering a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and growing in the Catholic faith is central to our mission.”

Informational sessions being offered throughout the U.P.

To explain the specifics of Holy Name High School–A Chesterton Academy, Holy Name Catholic School will be offering one-hour-long informational sessions (at which masks will be required and social distancing observed) at the following Upper Peninsula Diocesan schools and parishes, which all interested parents and their children are invited to attend:

≤ March 2 at Holy Name Catholic School Multi-purpose room, Escanaba – 7 p.m. EST

≤ March 4 at Holy Spirit Catholic School Gymnasium, Norway – 7 p.m. CST

≤ March 9 at Father Marquette Catholic Academy Gymnasium, Marquette – 7 p.m. EST

≤ March 11 at Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church Basement, L’Anse – 6 p.m. EST

≤ March 14 at St. Joseph Catholic Parish Hall, Sault Ste. Marie, MI – 11:15 a.m. EST

≤ March 16 at St. Francis de Sales Catholic School Gymnasium – 7 p.m. EST

≤ March 18 at St. John Paul II Catholic Academy, Menominee – 7 p.m. EST

≤ March 22–Virtual presentation via Zoom.us – 7 p.m. EST- Please e-mail alumni@holynamecrusaders.com for Zoom link.

Principal Carlson is thrilled that Holy Name High School has chosen to be a part of the Chesterton Schools Network.

“We are excited to spread the word about this wonderful network of high schools, in which our Catholic faith is woven throughout the tried-and-true curriculum. Our teachers will help raise up a generation of joyful leaders through a distinctly classical curriculum rooted in our Catholic faith. I am extremely grateful for everyone who had faith in Holy Name High Sch­­­ool re-opening,” Carlson said. “I appreciate their support and am amazed how God has blessed us with the soon-to-open Holy Name High School–A Chesterton Academy!”

Catholic High Schools’ Vibrant History in


Catholic high schools have a rich history in Escanaba. In fact, the school colors may remind some of the days of St. Joseph High School. HNHS–A Chesterton Academy’s school colors will be navy blue and gold, which are similar to the purple and gold school colors of the original SJHS (predecessor to Holy Name High School).St. Joseph High School first opened in 1884 on the 700 block of First Avenue South in Escanaba (where the west parking lot of St. Joseph’s & St. Patrick’s Church is currently located), and thrived with 213 students enrolled prior to its closing in 1954.

Holy Name Catholic Central High School then opened in the fall of 1954 in the current Holy Name Catholic School building, with an enrollment of 438 students. To build the original Holy Name High School, the late Mrs. Catherine Bonifas bequeathed $600,000 for construction of the building. The remaining $500,000 of the $1.1 million building was donated by community members following a successful capital campaign.

HNHS unfortunately closed in 1971, largely due to the passage of Proposal C, which prohibited direct government funding of non-public/religious education. This led to the opening of Holy Name Central Grade School later in 1971, with a tuition-based model, where kindergarten through eighth grade students have since received a high quality, faith-based education.

For more information on the Chesterton Schools Network, (which has its flagship school, Chesterton Academy of the Twin Cities in Hopkins and St. Paul, MN), visit: www.Chestertonschoolsnetwork.org. To donate to Holy Name High School, please visit www.NowIsTheTimeHNHS.com or www.upcatholicfoundation.org, or call Michelle Bink, alumni/development director at Holy Name, at 906-786-7550, Ext. 20. Donations can be mailed to: Holy Name Catholic School, 409 S. 22nd Street, Escanaba, MI 49829.


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