The Basilica of St. James and St. John's Academy have announced that the Academy will offer middle school education beginning in the fall of 2021.

Originally a boarding school, St. John's Academy opened in 1890 and offered education through high school for 75 years until the closure of the middle and high school after the 1965-66 school year. The school will resume offering Catholic Christian middle school education beginning in the fall of 2021 with the addition of seventh grade and with eighth grade in the fall of 2022.

A proposal was approved by the Academy's school board, the Basilica of St. James Parish Finance Council and future pastor the Rev. Neil Pfeifer.

"Adding seventh and eighth grade was a part of the vision that Monsignor (Jeffrey) Wald had for this parish and for St. John's Academy," said Pfeifer. "Furthermore, it supports the mission of the Basilica of St. James and Academy."

The decision comes with the encouragement and support of the Bishop John T. Folda of the Fargo Diocese, who holds a deep belief in the importance and value of Catholic-Christian education.

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“I’m very pleased that St. John’s Academy will add seventh and eighth grades in the next two years," Folda said. "This will be a great blessing for our students and their families, who already trust St. John’s to pass on an excellent education and formation in the Catholic faith."

Pfeifer noted that since 1890, the mission of St. John's Academy has been to educate and spiritually form the children of the community through "rigorous academics built on the firm foundation of Catholic-Christian faith." The decision to proceed with adding grades 7-8 was made with a "firm belief that education within a Catholic-Christian school is both valuable and necessary for passing on the faith to the next generation. In other words, it is impossible to educate a child fully and properly without bringing Christ into the conversation," Pfeifer said.

St. John's Academy Principal Jeff Trumbauer said educating middle school students at the Academy will not only enhance the academic experience for children will greatly contribute to the formation and development of the whole child.

"The ability to present Christ to middle school children during their formative years is very important," he said. "We understand that there will be challenges to face, but through Christ all things are possible, and it is in him we put our faith. We are excited to offer this incredible, faith-based education that has become the standard at St. John's Academy to seventh and eighth grade students. We appreciate the input and support of our stakeholders and ask for the prayers of this community as we embark on the next chapter at St. John's Academy."

For more details and enrollment information, visit the Academy's website: www.stjohnsacademynd.org