First diocesan Catholic high school in KCMO area in 52 years to open this fall

LEE'S SUMMIT, Mo. - Catholic high schools are closing around the country, and Kansas City is not immune.

Recently two in the KC area closed: St. Mary's in Independence, and Archbishop O'Hara in Kansas City, Missouri.  

That's one reason there is so much buzz in Lee's Summit. 

Father Richard Rocha said this is the perfect time for a diocesan Catholic high school to come to the Kansas City area.

"Really, it’s teaching and continuing to teach what they are taught in the home and through their Catholic grade school experience," said Rocha.

August 11 and August 16 will be the first days at St. Michael the Archangel for freshmen and rest of the high school respectively.

St. Michael the Archangel is a diocesan, Catholic high school. That makes it the first diocesan Catholic high school to open in the KC area in 52 years.

Other Catholic schools have opened over the past half a century like Cristo Rey Kansas City. The private high school opened in 2006 and is run by the Sisters of Charity of Leavenworth.

Right now, most of the construction is done. Workers are putting together the finishing, interior touches.

St. Michael will have a community system, be student led, and have learning academies. Some of those include the following subjects: engineering, aviation, robotics, computer science, humanities and healthcare, and performing arts.

Its aviation program is one of six in the country through Purdue University.

It will also have a SMILE program or SMILE zone, which stands for St. Michael, Inclusive, Learning, Enhancement. The goal is to make sure all students of all levels are reached and feel at home.

"It is where we get to help some of our fellow students who need a little extra push. That's something I've always been really passionate about, so I'm really excited to keep doing that," said school co-captain Ellie Edmundson. 

Edmundson's role as a school captain is partially to plan group activities that foster fellowship -- to make sure all students are known by name and have a place to call their own.

Edmundson's school closed at the end of last year, so she will be starting her senior year in a new place.

"At first it was kind of scary," said Edmundson. "It was like, oh it's a new school. I don't know how I'm going to feel about that. But after a while you get used to it. You're like yes, St. Michael's, let's go."

The school is a $32 million project and is based off of modern technology, still deep-rooted in faith. There is an open-air learning lab, a gym that can seat 200 people, and a robotics lab.

It's located off Lee's Summit Road and 85th Street.

Tuition is about $9,000 a year, and they are looking for all kinds of students. Click here to learn more about enrollment.

Principal Jodie Maddox has had the past year to plan. For them, the next step is working on an IT system and bringing furniture into the building.

"The final steps are really all about the students, making sure we’re ready to put our best foot forward and make sure we're ready for them to open the school with excited hearts," said Maddox.

So far there are 280 students. The principal expects there to be about 300 by the time school starts.  

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