Chesterton Academy of the Twin Cities is located in downtown Hopkins, Minnesota, just west of Minneapolis/St. Paul. From its inception 14 years ago, the "joyfully Catholic" school has taught its high school students (grades 9-12) to value life; in fact, the school motto is "Cultura Vitae" ("Culture of Life"). Co-founder Dr. Dale Ahlquist told Catholic News Service that from the get-go, the mission of the school was "to counteract the culture of death."
AFN asked Ahlguist about a project the school began two years ago to bus students 15 miles to the Planned Parenthood clinic in St. Paul to pray. According to the school spokesman, students start by showing up to school early on Monday mornings.
"They have to sign up to go, and we can only take 40 students," Ahlquist shares. "They line up [starting at 7:45] – and usually the slots are filled within just a couple of minutes."
He tells AFN the students comprising the group "Crusaders for Life" get good responses from passersby – and from others.
"The most gratifying thing, of course, is when people come to the clinic and turn around and leave because they see all these kids with these smiling faces out there, praying against abortion and asking people to respect life," Ahlquist shares.
The project has been highly successful, he adds, especially when hearing from students about the impact it has on them when a baby's life is saved. He recommends that schools elsewhere in the nation adopt the same program.
Chesterton Academy of the Twin Cities, which opened in 2008, is the flagship of The Chesterton Schools Network, which now includes 34 schools in the U.S. and Canada – and a sister school in Italy. Chesterton Academy of Sierra Leone is scheduled to launch this fall.