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New Catholic School Set to Open in James City County on Aug. 27

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While most schools in the Historic Triangle are preparing for the return of students, one school is set to welcome students for the first time.

Veritas Preparatory School will open its doors Aug. 27, offering classes for students from grades six through 12 that are informed by the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. Grades six through eight will form the lower “Latin school,” while grades nine through 12 will form the high school.

Located in McLaws Circle in James City County, Veritas leased a building formerly occupied by a Wachovia trading center. Headmaster Larry Henson said the school had made minor internal changes, including shifting walls and room layout, to make the building suitable for classrooms.

While Henson said the church’s theology would be a core part of the school’s curriculum, the school is not currently affiliated with a Catholic diocese, and has not received funding from it. The Archdiocese of Richmond will observe the school’s operations for five years. After that process is fulfilled, Veritas would be officially affiliated with the church, and could refer to itself as Veritas Catholic Preparatory School.

“We have a good relationship with the Diocese,” Henson said. “They can give us advice along the way.”

The school is the brainchild of James City County resident Diane Cavazos, who had the idea to open her own school more than 10 years ago to fill a perceived gap in the region’s classical, college preparatory school market.

Veritas will be the fourth religiously affiliated school in the Historic Triangle, but Henson said the school would complement, rather than overshadow, the other schools.

“They all have their way of focusing on the faith,” Henson said. “Because we’re classical, the faith element does fit a bit better into the curriculum.”

Both Henson and Cavazos have previously emphasized the school’s classical curriculum as a defining characteristic. Classes will be modeled on the “Trivium,” a Medieval educational idea that divided knowledge into three segments: grammar, logic and rhetoric. In addition, each student will be required to study Latin.

Henson said the student body size for the coming year would likely be small, but said small class sizes were a central element in the school’s design.

“You have schools with hundreds of students in the graduating class, we’re going to have dozens,” Henson said.

Veritas utilizes rolling admissions, and is still accepting applications for the 2014-15 academic year. Tuition is $7,500 for grades sixth through eight, and $8,500 for grades nine through 12.

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