With a view toward their history and a desire to strengthen Catholic education, Benedictine College Preparatory and Saint Gertrude High School unified under a single new corporation, The Benedictine Schools of Richmond, in January 2020. The Benedictine Schools of Richmond will operate Saint Gertrude High School essentially as an all-girls school division and Benedictine College Preparatory essentially as an all-boys school division. The two schools will share the Benedictine Abbey campus, including some important facilities such as the campus church, auditorium, athletic fields, and a new state-of-the-art gymnasium. For 90 years, the two schools operated just 400 feet apart in the Museum District of Richmond. In 2013, Benedictine College Preparatory relocated to the 50-acre Benedictine Abbey campus. In 2021, Saint Gertrude High School will relocate to the Benedictine Abbey campus, where the schools will, once again, be in close proximity.
Saint Gertrude and BCP Announce Expedited Schedule
Dear Saint Gertrude and Benedictine Family:
First and foremost, we hope this finds you well. This is a difficult time for our world, especially if you or your loved ones are dealing with illness or other hardships as a result of the pandemic. Please know that the entire Benedictine Order, as always, has been deep in prayer and that our heartfelt prayers are directed toward delivery from this crisis.
It is, sadly, quite possible that you, or someone close to you, has been affected by the coronavirus pandemic, the likes of which the world has not seen in a century. The consequences of the pandemic have spared no region, industry, family, or educational institution—including Saint Gertrude and Benedictine. Our beloved schools have not been spared, and we anticipate this economic crisis will expand to have an even greater impact than it already has on our students and families. Because of this unprecedented fiscal crisis, national and state independent school associations have recommended that schools plan for major budgetary impacts. Shepherding financial resources in a manner that ensures near-term survival of both schools, while preserving the opportunity to thrive in the long run, remains of utmost importance to both schools’ leadership.
We, along with the boards of both schools, subscribe to the belief that the best course of action, therefore, is to expedite the co-location of Saint Gertrude to the River Road campus. Originally, the plan called for Saint Gertrude to make this move just prior to the start of the 2021-22 school year. However, in an effort to not only ensure both schools’ survival during this crisis but also to give them the opportunity to thrive on the other side, we felt it best to accelerate the transition to one campus beginning this summer in time for the 2020-21 school year.
The relocation of Saint Gertrude to Goochland will vastly reduce facility expenses, while allowing us to preserve (and actually grow) the current educational opportunities for both Saint Gertrude and Benedictine students. Our belief in the unique benefits of single-sex education remains unshaken. In fact, this decision will help to ensure single-sex education is available to young men and women in the Richmond area for generations to come, as our partnership will foster an even closer and nurturing community through which we’ll find mutual strength.
We understand that this change will demand some sacrifice by everyone involved. For parents, in particular, we anticipate that you may have questions about what this announcement means for you and your family. You can expect a stream of communication opportunities designed to share the logistics of how we move forward.
The last major pandemic began in 1918, a time when both schools were in the midst of their foundational years. Let us work together to ensure that we emerge stronger, together, from this latest scourge. We are thankful that we have a sound option that will allow both Saint Gertrude and Benedictine to remain steady and poised for growth while the new girls school is being constructed to begin this fall. On behalf of the Monks and Sisters of our Benedictine Orders, we look forward to continuing this journey with you and with your beloved children.
Sr. Joanna Burley, OSB
Fr. Jonathan Licari, OSB
Benedictine Schools of Richmond Announces First President
An excerpt from the official announcement: On behalf of both schools’ boards, it is our great pleasure to announce the appointment of Jesse A. Grapes as the new president of The Benedictine Schools of Richmond, Inc. The criteria established by our search committee for the new president aligned well with Mr. Grapes’s experience, skills, and leadership style. As an inspiring leader and accomplished community builder, we are confident that all of his experience has led to this moment and points to even greater accomplishments in the futures of Saint Gertrude and Benedictine. Mr. Grapes is well-prepared and eager to build on the solid base he has already established within our community, and we look forward to a great future for both Saint Gertrude and Benedictine under his leadership.
Please join us in welcoming Mr. Grapes and his leadership on this journey toward a future full of hope for our beloved schools. We hope you will watch Mr. Grapes’s first official address to our unified community as president below.
Benedictine Schools of Richmond Seeks First Principal
The Benedictine Schools of Richmond, the largest Catholic secondary education organization in Richmond, seeks a dynamic individual who will assume the programmatic leadership of both Saint Gertrude High School and Benedictine College Preparatory. The principal is charged first with coordinating the relocation of Saint Gertrude High School to the Benedictine Abbey campus while aligning school cultures and schedules in an exciting coordinate program structure. The principal will own the spiritual, academic, leadership, and athletic programs of the two schools, finding synergies that lead to the development of The Benedictine Schools of Richmond culture while respecting the single-sex programs that form its foundation. The incoming principal must be a faith-filled and visionary leader who excels at building teams, collaboration, and transformational leadership. The principal will report directly to the president of The Benedictine Schools of Richmond. Click here to learn more.