Early in the 21st century, several Madison, Wisconsin-area families sought to establish a classical high school based on profound love of Jesus Christ and his Church. Their inspiration was Pope St. John Paul II’s vision for an educational environment rooted in a shared belief in the dignity and purpose of every human being. St. Ambrose Academy was established in 2003.
St. Ambrose opened in September, 2003 with classrooms located on Cardinal Stritch University’s Madison campus. In 2004, the school took residence at St. Thomas Aquinas Parish after the Most Reverend Robert C. Morlino, Bishop of Madison, recognized St. Ambrose Academy as a Catholic school. Though operated independently of any parish, St. Ambrose Academy collaborates with the Diocese of Madison’s Office of Schools.
St. Ambrose graduated its first two students from senior high school in 2006. One year later, the first students to complete four years at St. Ambrose graduated. Now, 70 students have graduated from St. Ambrose. Alumni have been accepted to Princeton University, the University of Chicago, the University of Notre Dame, the University of Southern California, seminary for the Diocese of Madison, Boston College, the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Franciscan University of Steubenville, Belmont Abbey College, the University of Dallas and other prestigious higher-education institutions.
Growth and accreditation
In 2009, St. Ambrose was accredited by the National Association of Private Catholic and Independent Schools (NAPCIS). Meanwhile, increasing enrollment made it necessary for the school to bring on additional staff members, starting with the addition of three consecrated women to teach in the junior high school in 2009. The following year, Bishop Robert Morlino began teaching in the senior high school on a regular basis.
As enrollment grew, St. Ambrose Academy began offering team sports, starting with girls’ basketball in 2007 and boys’ basketball in 2008. In 2011, St. Ambrose Academy joined the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association (WIAA) and participated in a co-op 8-man football team with other local high schools. Boys’ and girls’ cross country teams debuted shortly thereafter.
Taking advantage of new opportunities
St. Ambrose Academy’s stellar classroom experience is complemented by an increasing number of extracurricular activities.
In 2012, the cross country team sent a runner to the state meet. The cross country program continues to be a popular way to get into running, make friends and grow in virtue.
In 2012 and 2013, St. Ambrose debuted junior high basketball teams for boys and girls. In 2014-2015, it expanded its basketball program by joining a co-op arrangement with Abundant Life Christian School and Madison Country Day, and has since added soccer for boys and girls with the same arrangement. Each fall, the co-op 8-man football team with Abundant Life Christian School has made it to Post-Season championship jamboree.
In the spring of 2013, the school hosted an award-winning production of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast, it’s first full-length musical production. Since, St. Ambrose has put on Annie, The Music Man and The Sound of Music.
For 2015-2016, St. Ambrose formed a debate team, building on the skills students have developed through their participation in the Model United Nations conferences under the guidance of history teacher Michael Kwas.
We’re eager to continue our growth and successes as we go through the new year that is 2016-2017.