By Ian C. Beck ’12
Brophy will open Loyola Academy in 2011, a middle school for underprivileged students that will be located on the second floor of Loyola Hall.
“It’s a new program, part of Brophy, to help those students who have the intellectual ability to do well at Brophy but don’t have the academic and study habits background,” said Brophy President Fr. Eddie Reese S.J.
The program is geared toward taking the academically gifted out of the public school system and installing them into a middle school environment that will better prepare them for Brophy.
“These will typically be kids from less affluent, poor backgrounds, who don’t have the advantage of the grade schools or parent’s with a college education to help them study,” Fr. Reese said.
The all-boys school will begin with a sixth grade class of about 30 students in August and will progress to the eighth grade.
To qualify for the school, students will have to qualify for the Federal Lunch program, which means the families will have an annual income of about $20,000 or less.
Loyola Academy will hopefully develop students so that they are better prepared for a Brophy education but their acceptance to Brophy after their completion of the program is in no way guaranteed.
“(It’s) not automatic but that’s the assumption,” Fr. Reese said. “That they would do well enough and if they don’t then they’ll probably be out of the program by the end of their sixth or seventh grade.”
The program will be staffed by a teacher, a program director and an office assistant. The program director will be an assistant principal at Brophy who will report to Brophy Principal Mr. Bob Ryan.
The teachers will be on full pay scale and will be full faculty members as would any other Brophy teacher.
Fr. Reese said he hopes the Academy will have the same amount of programs and athletic teams as a normal junior high.
He also said that Brophy students and parents would be relied on to help out and volunteer with the program.
Current Brophy students might be used in a sort of big brother or mentor capacity. They will tutor and help ease their transition through the program.
Jordan Bohannon ’12 said he is eager to help out with the new students.
“I really enjoyed working during summer LP, and it really moved me, so I like seeing the idea of Loyola Project expanded and I would love to help the students if needed,” he said.
In addition, Brophy parents will be asked to volunteer with the program.
Loyola Academy students will on campus from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and will be served breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Fr. Reese said that the Academy has been a dream of Brophy’s for a long time and the program has been in a planning stage for five to 10 years now.
He accredited Mr. Ryan and Vice President Mrs. Adria Renke as being instrumental to the planning process.
In addition, Fr. Reese said that Ken Kendrick, owner of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and the Jesuits have helped fund the project.
Students at Loyola Academy will operate on a different schedule than Brophy students to minimize contact between the two student bodies.
Loyola Academy will not have great direct impact on the Brophy student body but it will take away all storage space on second story Loyola Hall.
Currently being used to store sports equipment, the second story of Loyola Hall is also home to the Robotics team.
“I will be interested to see how the displaced clubs and teams react to losing their claims to space in Loyola, and I’m also interested to see how a high school environment will react to having a large number of middle schoolers placed on campus,” Bohannon said.
Mrs. Beth Visquesney is a moderator for the Robotics club and said that it will be a temporary inconvenience for the team to find a new place to work.
She said that there were a few available rooms on campus that are currently being used for storage, and those details are being worked out.
However, she is optimistic about the success of the program.
“It will be a great opportunity for the kids that come here,” Mrs. Visquesney said.