The voyage has begun!

The voyage has begun!

Dear Parents, Benefactors, and Friends,

It has been 10 months since that brisk and sunny Autumn afternoon when I was given final permission to use a beautiful building and property in Kentucky for a new school. It was November 30th, the Feast of St. Andrew – what had so long been an idea and a topic of much conversation, was destined to become a reality.

I am happy to share the news that the maiden voyage of Saint Andrew’s Academy has begun! On September 9th, we set sail with an enthusiastic and merry band of twelve freshmen boys from around the country, all from different states in fact! I would like to extend my sincere and heartfelt gratitude to all our benefactors – it is thanks to your prayers and financial support that we are able to begin this adventure in education.

Voyages, pilgrimages, and adventures have always been surrounded and enlivened by song, and this was certainly a beginning of all of these.  After the bustle of an afternoon of unpacking luggage, farewells to parents and siblings, and meeting fellow classmates, the day quieted, the last of the sunset faded to night, and the first freshmen class of Saint Andrew’s Academy headed out to learn a song around a fire, under the stars.

The Minstrel-Boy to the war is gone,
    In the ranks of death you’ll find him;
His father’s sword he has girded on,
    And his wild harp slung behind him.
“Land of song!” said the warrior-bard,
    “Tho’ all the world betrays thee,
One sword, at least, thy rights shall guard,
    One faithful harp shall praise thee!”

The Minstrel fell!—but the foeman’s chain
    Could not bring that proud soul under;
The harp he lov’d ne’er spoke again,
    For he tore its chords asunder;
And said, “No chains shall sully thee,
    Thou soul of love and bravery!
Thy songs were made for the pure and free,
    They shall never sound in slavery.”

This song, The Minstrel Boy, speaks of a man with his heart in the right place, and who is willing to lay down his life for what he loves. It is a song about a warrior poet. It is such a man, King David, that God calls a man after his own heart – a great warrior and the composer of the psalms we pray together at Prime, Compline, and at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. To become men after God’s own heart is the aim that animates and directs the life of the School. This is what man was born for. As the fire flickered under the night sky, we were reminded of the words of Christ: “I have come to set fire to the world, and what would I but that it be kindled.” We were born to burn – to burn with love for God and for all that is good, true, and beautiful. Twelve men on fire for the truth can change the world – remember the twelve apostles.

These first three weeks have passed quickly by and classes are in full swing – the boys are reading the Merry Adventures of Robin Hood, discovering the New World with Columbus, experiencing the charm and challenge of communicating in Latin, memorizing their first poems and songs, chanting Compline every evening, building portable chicken shelters, and have begun erecting a greenhouse. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass was celebrated for the first time at the school, and the Blessed Sacrament is now reserved in our chapel.

Please consider making a tax-deductible donation to allow us to continue our mission, and please keep Saint Andrew’s Academy, the faculty, and our first twelve students in your prayers – may we be warrior-bards, ever faithful to the “land of song.” May we be joyful apostles of the truth.

Pax Christi!

Ben Strong

Join us in founding a school that values the Faith, study, farming, trades, adventure, music, and joy by making your tax-deductible donation today!

Our First Mass

Thanks to another incredible manifestation of Providence, everything necessary to furnish our small chapel was donated to Saint Andrew’s. The tabernacle, candlesticks, and other brassware needed a good polishing, but the boys were up to the task. On Wednesday, Sept 20, Mass was celebrated for the first time at Saint Andrew’s Academy by our Irish Chaplain, Fr. Joseph Budds. As father Budds was recently ordained, the boys also had the opportunity to receive his first blessing.

Camping, Hiking, and Climbing

Two days after arrival, the boys packed up and headed down to Daniel Boone National Forest for a week-long orientation trip. They camped, hiked, cooked over fires, explored historic sites, and experienced the intensity of a Via Ferrata. Amidst the relative physical discomfort and privation, the boys were all the while becoming more comfortable both with each other and the larger adventure they were setting out on, of which this was but a microcosm. And a great time they had of it! Muscles were put to the test in the achievement of beautiful views (whether atop a mountain or suspended from a harness a hundred feet in the air), skunks neatly avoided, and scrambled pancakes invented – a perfect preparation for the first week of classes!

Updates from the Farm

In addition to daily farm chores in the morning, two hours every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon are devoted to trades and farm work. Mr. Ruegemer, the farm manager and Natural History teacher, has been working with the students to build portable chicken shelters according to Joel Salatin’s design. Another group of boys are setting up a small greenhouse (and working on a few small engines) with Mr. Rogers and Mr. Strong. This last Saturday morning the boys participated in slaughtering and butchering a cow under the tutelage of Mr. Ryan Kohler, a local butcher. This was a powerful experience for the boys: an insight into the mysteries of life and death, and of the origins of food! That same afternoon the students learned how to butcher and process poultry – forty pasture-raised chickens are now in the freezer!

Support the Academy by making your tax-deductible donation today!

Mailing address

Saint Andrew's Academy

P.O. Box 213

Verona, Kentucky, 41092


Please make checks payable to Saint Andrew's Academy, Inc.

Notice of nondiscriminatory policy as to students

Saint Andrews Academy admits students of any race, color, national and ethnic origin to all the rights, privileges, programs, and activities generally accorded or made available to students at the school. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national and ethnic origin in administration of its educational policies, admissions policies, scholarship and loan programs, and athletic and other school-administered programs.

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