Menomonee Falls, WI –For the past 20 years, Aquinas Academy has provided families with a unique educational environment. The basic concept, called Integral Formation®, is rooted in the complete development of each student and is coupled with genuine joy. For many parents, the joyous atmosphere is what distinguishes Aquinas Academy from other schools. While a strong academic program is a must, Aquinas is equally active in character and spiritual development. The outcome? Mature, intelligent, confident students with genuinely strong self-esteem. “That [strong self-esteem] is probably the most important result of our formative process”, said Principal Paul Heidel. “When children this age have confidence in who they are as a person, doors open and they can accomplish anything”.
“You have a miracle here. A pearl of great price and I am with you all the way”, said then Milwaukee Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan.
Originally, Aquinas Academy was named “Hillcrest Academy”, and as a private startup school, leased space at various locations. The name was changed to “Aquinas” to better promote its Catholic identity and, in 1997, Aquinas moved into its current facility – a beautiful 15,000 sq ft building on a 68 acre campus in Menomonee Falls. While the name and location have changed over the years, the one remaining constant has been the hiring of dedicated and passionate teachers and staff who are committed to the mission– “To teach the intellect, to educate the heart, to form the will”. Simply put, the teachers care about each and every student’s complete development. When the teachers and parents are working together to form their children, the children will succeed.
Like any private independent school, it took tremendous faith and perseverance to keep the doors open. Along with consistency in the mission, two people provided steadfast stability for the financial aspects of the school throughout those 20 years. Paul and Patti Hundt, the principal founders, saw the tremendous need for a school like Aquinas. “During our lives, we’ll all be presented with thousands of choices to make”, said Patti Hundt. “The leaders of tomorrow need to know how to make intelligent choices quickly that are in alignment with the Church’s teaching”.
Today, Aquinas Academy continues to provide a formative environment unlike any other. Despite difficult economic times, enrollment continues to be strong which enables new programs and activities. In fact, enrollment has doubled in the past two years. More recently, Aquinas Academy received approval to host international students. Those students are seeking an English immersion experience to better learn conversational English and the American culture in general. “The parents of those children have chosen Aquinas for the very same reasons as our local parents choose Aquinas”, said Nan Ross, Director of Admissions. “They want a safe, nurturing, and Christian-based environment for their children.”
The current facility still has room for more students, but space is becoming an issue. In fact, recent growth has resulted in the splitting of the 7th grade class by gender (boys and girls). This gender-specific model is what will be followed at Aquinas and it is proving to be a great success. The teachers are presenting the same material differently depending on who they are teaching. “The children appear happier, and there are fewer “distractions” that typically occur at that age”, said Paul Heidel whose daughter is in 7th grade at Aquinas. Plans are underway to continue the development of the 68 acre campus. Ultimately, the vision is the construction of a complete K – 12th grade academy; complete with state-of-the-art labs, technology, theaters, athletic fields, and field houses. While the campus will be co-ed, there will be distinct boys’ and girls’ buildings. It’s an ambitious vision, but it is one the Aquinas founders and families believe is needed to best form our children into the leaders of tomorrow.
About Aquinas Academy
Aquinas Academy, located on a 68-acre campus in Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, offers outstanding Catholic education in a private school setting. Aquinas Academy offers grades K3-8 in small class sizes, allowing talented teachers to fully develop each child's unique gifts. By employing a formative approach called Integral Formation®, Aquinas Academy is committed to excellence in developing the leaders of tomorrow. The school motto is "Semper Altius!" (Always Higher!)
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