Origins of Green Bay’s First Catholic, Classical School

The mission of St. John Paul II Classical School began over 150 years ago, when Our Blessed Mother appeared to a young Belgian girl, Adele Brise, just 16 miles outside of the city of Green Bay. Mary instructed Adele to “gather the children in this wild country and teach them what they should know for salvation.” (Learn more about Our Lady of Good Help.)

Through the intercession of Our Lady of Good Help, a group of parents found the courage to present the idea of a Catholic classical school to the president of the GRACE system a few years ago.

The entire GRACE Board of Trustees read, discussed, and listened to presentations about classical education before holding the discussion and decision-making meetings. The vote to support a Catholic classical school was unanimous: the GRACE trustees approved the proposal for the creation of a Catholic classical school.

The recommendation was then presented to the GRACE board of directors, a body which includes Bishop Ricken and the pastors of the 23 supporting parishes, who also endorsed the proposal.

The Classical Advisory Team along with GRACE President, Kim Desotell, worked tirelessly to lay the groundwork for the school. With a dedicated faculty hired and Ms. Carol Ricken serving as an interim administrator, SJPII opened its doors for the first time in Fall 2016.

Bishop David L. Ricken and St. John Paul II Classical School

Bishop Ricken was responsible for naming the classical school after the recently canonized St. John Paul II, known for fearlessly and passionately proclaiming the truth of Jesus Christ, for invigorating young people, and for ushering in the New Evangelization. He also endorsed the school’s philosophy. Bishop Ricken also decided that SJPII Classical School should be part of the GRACE system rather than a separate institution.