A project that has been in the works for years, after searching in many, many places for the right location, the first high school in the United States that both offers a Catholic education, and also caters exclusively to students with special needs, has found a home in Michigan. The campus of Veritas Christi Catholic High School hopes to begin classes in the fall of this year. “Our goal is to create a loving, peaceful, Christ-centered environment for these special children of God; a place where they can engage fully in the process of learning without having to worry all the time about being teased and taunted and harassed for their disabilities,” said Richard Nye, a co-founder of Veritas Christi and president of the board, in a press statement this week.
Veritas Christi has been offering classes online for over five years, and they have been searching for a place to set the campus down for students since that time. It will be an independent school in the Diocese of Lansing, and is a member of the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools. However, Deacon John M. Cameron, JCL, chancellor of the Diocese of Lansing, told the Newman Society that Bishop Earl Boyea of Lansing “has not consented for [Veritas Christi] to use the title of ‘Catholic school.'”
Richard Nye, co-founder, has said that they have secures a lease agreement in a former Catholic boys schools that closed about a year and a half ago. Many of the best schools for children with special needs are currently boarding schools, says Nye, and turning the school into a boarding school is “really our long term goal”. For now, however, they have other obstacles to accomplish in order to pay the entire first year’s rent for the campus, which sits on about 60 acres of land, and has 10 buildings, a swimming pool, and lots of room for athletic pursuits.
The amount of money they are looking to raise is in the low six figures, and they are looking to raise it by April 30th so that they can prepare for the fall start of the 2016-2017 school year. While they admit to the goal of raising these funds and opening so soon to be audacious, they believe it can be done, and they anticipate having a line of potential students “out the door and around the corner.”
While there are some Catholic education schools that specialize in certain special needs children, this school plans to admit all different categories of special needs disabilities. “Catholic parents trying to educate their special-needs children need the Church now more than ever. Unfortunately, there are very few options available to them because the Church has been painfully slow to respond to this obvious need,” said Lori and Eric Williams of Metamora, Mich., the parents of two children with special needs, in Veritas Christi’s press statement. “Fortunately, Veritas Christi exists to continue the work of Christ on behalf of these special children of God.”