ST. BENEDICT’S SHARES THEIR KNOWLEDGE WITH START-UP SCHOOL IN WISCONSIN
Four students from St. Benedict's, accompanied by the Head of the Prep Division, Dr. Glenn Cassidy, and Director of our Vox Institute, Louis Lainé, traveled to Milwaukee, Wis. for a retreat last month to work with the students and faculty of the future Kingdom Prep Lutheran School.
The head of Kingdom Prep is Kevin Festering, who became familiar with St. Benedict’s when he visited The Hive while a student in the Urban Education Institute at the University of Wisconsin. Sydney Giovinazzo, who is working with Festering as a Lead Teacher, came to The Hive in the summer of 2017 to learn more about our school while teaching a Summer Phase course.
While teaching at The Hive, Giovinazzo made connections with many students, some whom still keep in touch. One of those students, Juvan Rivas, now a senior, was intrigued with the efforts of the two leaders of Kingdom Prep and developed a plan for how the SBP students might be able to help.
After a lot of persistence from Rivas and funding from Kingdom Prep, St. Benedict’s team made the trek out to Wisconsin to aid the new school in getting started. Rivas, along with Devionne Johnson, Savion Harris, and Jerry Tranquilis, worked with Cassidy and Lainé to put together a two-day retreat for the next year’s ninth graders at Kingdom Prep.
The retreat was designed to help bring the future students of Kingdom Prep together and give them experience with student leadership and community.
On the third day of the visit, the St. Benedict’s group met with Kingdom Prep’s advisory team to answer questions and provide our own insight into their venture, while giving them an in-depth understanding of the St. Benedict's operating educational model.
The demographic makeup of the students at Kingdom Prep is very similar to that of St. Benedict’s. Although still in the planning stages, the school has identified a few faculty members and have already enrolled approximately 60 students to be their inaugural class. The school is opening with just a 9th grade and will grow by one grade each year.
Our students led almost all aspects of the retreat with Lainé and Dr. Cassidy participating only when they thought it would add impact. The students and faculty of Kingdom Prep were extremely engaged and grateful for our presence and work. One of the future students said, "Thanks for bringing your boys here this weekend – they’ve been a big help."
“We never could have accomplished in months, what your kids brought to us this weekend," said a very appreciative Festering.