We begin with the end in mind. As creatures made for union with God, we can only find true fulfillment through an ever-deepening relationship with Jesus Christ. And that relationship demands engagement from the whole person: body, mind and soul. In all that we do at St. Martin’s – farm-work, study and prayer – we seek to create a rich and fertile soil for God to do His work in cultivating Saints.
Nurture authentic masculinity
Rather than a coarse, superficial machismo, authentic masculinity demands perseverance in pursuit of the arduous good. It requires constant self-denial in service of God, family, and community. Boys at St. Martin’s will do hard things everyday to counteract our deeply rooted human tendency toward softness and sloth.
Heal the imagination
An imagination fed predominantly on the neon glow of screens is weakened by passivity and contact with the unreal. St. Martin’s replaces screens and the noise of pop culture with the great outdoors and with folk music and poetry — giving mind and heart the time and space to acclimate to the deeper beauty of God’s creation.
St. Martin’s will place boys in the constant, near occasion of wonder. The love of learning and the desire for God are magnified by the response of wonder in the face of Mystery and Beauty. Beholding Orion on a crisp winter’s evening, young minds will begin to stir with an affinity for first things and questions about our origin and destiny.
Deep prayer requires sustained attentiveness, a skill all but lost in our era of sound-bytes and instant gratification. Boys at St. Martin’s will learn to look beyond themselves in establishing habits of mind and soul sensitive to the silent places where God is found: in the Eucharist, in the wisdom of Creation, and within their own hearts.
“Noise is a whirlwind that avoids looking oneself in the face and confronting the interior emptiness…What will become of our world if it cannot find oases of silence?”
Life at St. Martin’s
Take a glimpse into our weekdays
“Liturgy is the consummation of education and the ultimate school of our humanity.” – Stratford Caldecott
“The Son of Man came eating and drinking.” Matthew 11:19
“If there is one mark more striking than another about the Catholic Church it is its intellectual freedom.” -Hilaire Belloc
“Tis not the food, but the content, That makes the table’s merriment.” -Robert Herrick
“He must bring the natural powers of the soul under the influence of grace, and this he does through prayer.” -St. Bonaventure
“A truly great intellect is one which takes a connected view of old and new, past and present, far and near, and which has an insight into the influence of all these one on another.” -Blessed John Henry Newman
“To become a man one must be broken to bodily hardship and bodily strain such as are called forth in athletic contests.” -Fr. Edward Leen
“This magical, marvelous food on our plate, this sustenance we absorb, has a story to tell. It has a journey. It leaves a footprint. It leaves a legacy. To eat with reckless abandon, without conscience, without knowledge; folks, this ain’t normal.” -Joel Salatin
6:15pm: Study Hall
“To open the mind, to correct it, to refine it, to enable it, to know, and to digest, master, rule, and use its knowledge, to give it power over its own faculties, application, flexibility, method, critical exactness, sagacity, resource, address, eloquent expression.” -Blessed John Henry Newman
8:00pm: Free Time
“Man only plays when he is in the fullest sense of the word a human being, and he is only fully a human being when he plays.” -Friedrich Schiller
“In manus tuas Domine, commendo spiritum meum / Into Thy hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.” -Responsory of Compline
9:30pm: Lights Out
“Watch, O Lord, with those who wake, or watch or weep tonight, and give your angels charge over those who sleep.” -St. Augustine
The Good life…
Mindful of the Benedictine dictum ora et labora – pray and work, St. Martin’s Academy is committed to a cultural revitalization centered in the Mass. The liturgy is at the very heart of the school’s life and mission. Students attend Mass, pray the Rosary, and sing Compline daily while participating actively in the calendar of the Church’s liturgical year.
St Martin’s is no industrial assembly line of workforce preparation. It is an encounter with the Real in its organic form, as faith and reason are brought into contact with daily life. Our rigorous academics include Latin, Greek, Logic, Physics, and Natural History (to name a few), and are a thorough preparation for any college or vocation.
Boys “labor in the vineyards” as full participants in a diversified farming enterprise that incorporates animal husbandry and permaculture. Respecting the rich natural resources of southeast Kansas, our farm-to-table operation helps boys learn the value of hard work and good stewardship, while connecting them to the food they eat.
Rugby is played in the Spring in the competitive Kansas and Missouri region. Fall semester features our unique Functional Outdoor Resilience Training—FORT Leadership Program. Run by outdoorsmen and former military, FORT develops fitness, teamwork, and grit through intense physical and mental challenges.
With immense natural resources available, weekends and free-time at St. Martin’s will offer students limitless opportunities in fishing, camping, kayaking, boating, backpacking, hiking, rock-climbing, and bush-craft. Complementing these outdoor activities will be trips to nearby cities to enjoy museums, plays, concerts and other cultural events.
As you go about your daily life, how often do you hear voices in song? If you hear much at all you are with us in a happy minority. Saint Martin’s as a campus and culture is suffused in song where students are encouraged to be makers of music rather than simply consumers. This is not an exercise in nostalgia, but participation in vibrant oral culture.
St. Martin’s enjoys a monastic groundedness with roots in the tough Kansas clay. But there is wisdom to be learned from travel. Struggling to communicate in a foreign-tongue is humbling. Encountering different cultures expands the mind. And traveling abroad makes home sweet again. St. Martin’s graduates are nothing if not well-rounded.
“The only honest endowment for a school is a self-sufficient farm, without machines, to feed a chaplain, teachers, a cook, and boys who eat like hogs but also hoe, chop, pitch hay, and shovel dung.”
Daniel Kerr, Headmaster
BA: University of Dallas
Daniel Kerr’s desire to start St. Martin’s began well over 15 years ago after reading John Senior’s short work on the founding of a boys’ school, The Restoration of Innocence. Prior to St. Martin’s, Mr. Kerr co-founded AdjusterPro, helping lead the growth of a two-man operation into a team of 35 that has become the nation’s leading educational provider in insurance adjuster & appraiser licensing. In 2015, in conjunction with Fr. McElwee, Daniel started The Prairie Troubadour, an annual Symposium of Catholic Culture named in honor of his father, the late Gerald F. Kerr. Mr. Kerr and his wife Katie raise their 6 spirited children on a farm bustling with cattle, hogs, sheep and a variety of barnyard fowl.
Adam Taylor, Assistant Headmaster
BA: American Public University System
Mr. Taylor recognized his calling to education from an early age; his parents James and Linda were both teachers, musicians and poets who instilled in their children the love of the True, Good and Beautiful. However, his path to realizing that calling took a bit longer than most. After graduating from St. Mary’s Academy (NE Kansas), Mr. Taylor briefly attended Kansas State University, before enlisting in the United States Marine Corps in December 1992. For 20 years, he served in a variety of leadership roles and worldwide locations, retiring in May of 2013. Since then, he’s worked for Cloudera, Inc., most recently in the role of VP, Professional Services. He has a lifelong love of history, literature, the outdoors, and sport, and is passionate about building, developing and leading great teams. Mr. Taylor and his wife Annie and two children currently reside in Fort Scott, KS; his son Ian is a member of our founding class of 2021.
Kenneth Klassen, Academic Dean
BA, MA, Ph.D.: University of Kansas
Dr. Klassen has devoted his life to education. With over 40 years teaching experience in a variety of subjects from Calculus and Physics to English and Latin, Dr. Klassen’s warmth and wit have made him a beloved and revered figure in the Fort Scott community. He and his wife, Holly, raised 7 children on a small farm where they embraced agrarian living long before it was cool: milking a cow, growing vegetables, raising chickens and a variety of livestock as they enjoyed encountering God in His other book, the book of Nature.
Bryan Meyers, Dean of Student Life
BA: Northern Illinois University
Some people’s lives are changed by experiences. Some people’s lives by mentors. Bryan’s life was changed by books. Soon after high school it thus became apparent to him that, if possible, he wanted to spend his life reading books and sharing this love of all things literary with others. In the goodness of God, his wish was made a reality, and he has spent most of his professional life teaching, even lending a hand in the accreditation process of two classical Christian schools. As a teacher, his philosophy is simple: He loves books and he loves children, and he teaches, in the words of Wendell Berry, “merely by introducing the one to the other.” He and his beautiful wife and four children are glad to call Fort Scott and Saint Martin’s Academy home.
Ron Klassen, Teacher
BA, MA: University of Kansas
Ron Klassen has taught Latin in the Fort Scott school system for over 30 years, justly earning the nickname by which he is universally known: “Magister.” The Magister’s quixotic quest to bring beauty and tradition via Latin to the public school systems has touched the hearts and imaginations of generations of Fort Scottians. Ron and his wife Jean (who also teaches at Saint Martin’s) raised 4 children on a farm where they now cultivate one of the most bountiful food-producing vegetable gardens in Bourbon County.
Jean Klassen, Teacher
BME: University of Kansas
Mrs. Klassen was born in Nuremberg, Germany (her father’s Army posting), but spent most of her childhood in Kansas. While attending the University of Kansas, she was part of the Pearson Integrated Humanities Program. For over 31 years, she was the principal French Horn with the SE Kansas Symphony Orchestra, while also teaching music in her private studio. She directed a madrigal choir in Fort Scott, served as music editor for St. Paul’s Family Magazine, and has led liturgical music within the local Latin Mass community. Jean and her husband Ron (another of our teachers) raised four children, and call Fort Scott home.
Fr. Robert McElwee, Chaplain
BS, MA: Wichita State University
M.Div.: Nashotah House Seminary
MS: Pittsburg State University
Fr. McElwee has served the Catholic Diocese of Wichita for over thirty years in a variety of capacities including: Chaplain of a state college, Chaplain of a VA hospital, Associate Pastor, and Pastor. Currently retired from full-time parish work, Fr. McElwee remains tireless in providing the Sacraments, running a local Catholic radio station (that he started), working on and riding Harley Davidsons, teaching at a community college, and serving as a Licensed Clinical Marriage and Family Therapist. Father’s wife Ginger is one of our teachers and our librarian.
Ginger McElwee, Teacher and Librarian
BS, MA: Wichita State University
MS, EdS: Pittsburg State University
Ginger McElwee is the mother of seven, has worked as a school psychologist and has taught in public and Catholic high schools. Recently she has taught English at Labette Community College and psychology at Pittsburg State University. Ginger’s husband, Fr. Robert McElwee, is our chaplain.
Sebastian Macik, Chef and Teacher
BA: Wyoming Catholic College
Chef Macik has always been convinced that good times need good food. He attended Wyoming Catholic College, where he worked in the kitchen and formed various singing and juggling troupes. After graduation, Sebastian spent a year teaching in Mexico, where he developed a love for authentic Mexican cooking styles. Seb then moved to Dallas, got married, and taught for a year at a classical charter school before joining us as one of the founding members of the St. Martin’s Academy staff. He still enjoys singing, juggling, and creating masterpieces in the kitchen, and his excitement is infectious. He and his wife Erin have two children, and are expecting their third in September.
Ryan Bauer, Teacher
BS: Southern Illinois University
MS: Colorado State University
Ryan’s deep love for Sacred Scripture, liturgy and science have fostered his passion to teach the unity of Faith and Reason. Ryan has always been convicted of his calling to teach and mentor young adults in experiential learning. His undergraduate years were spent studying physics and playing Division I soccer. His love for the outdoors and admiration of the mountains led him to Colorado where he earned his masters in physics. Ryan then spent two years with the Franciscan Friars Minor in South Bend, Indiana learning many valuable lessons in simplicity, prayer and living in community life. Ryan and his wife Danielle (our secretary) were married in 2019 on the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul.
Danielle Bauer, Development Coordinator
BA: University of Dallas
Danielle brings to St. Martin’s many years of experience in event planning, corporate marketing, ministry and Catholic education. Danielle graduated from the University of Dallas where she earned her degree in Business Leadership and was inducted into the Athletic Hall of Fame for volleyball. She loves bringing people together in community and has a passion for hiking, traveling, cooking and sharing her gift of hospitality with others. Danielle and her husband Ryan (one of our teachers) were recently married in St. Louis, where they were both raised.
Charles Gentry, Teacher
BA, JD: University of Kansas
Charles Gentry maintained a general law practice in Fort Scott from 1975, when he graduated from the KU School of Law, until retirement in 2020. He has served on the Fort Scott Planning Commission and City Commission, and as Mayor. He has also served as judge pro tem in municipal, magistrate and district courts. Currently, Mr. Gentry is corporate Secretary of St. Martin’s Academy, Inc., and is a member of the Fort Scott Street Advisory Board, the Fort Scott Area Community Foundation Board, and the Mary Queen of Angels Finance Council. His interests include sailing and fly fishing.
Sarah Klassen, Secretary
BA: University of Oklahoma
MS: University of Pennsylvania
Sarah Klassen was born and raised in Lawton, Oklahoma. She has most recently worked for the State of Oklahoma as a cultural resources specialist. Mrs. Klassen recently moved to the Fort Scott area with her husband, John. They enjoy local fishing, kayaking, hunting for treasure at auctions, and long walks with their dog, Captain.
Jack Duffy, House Father
Hailing from small-town Nebraska, Jack Duffy was born into a Lutheran home, where he received formation rooted in the Holy Scriptures. Following his introduction to the Catholic Faith while studying Philosophy and German at Hillsdale College, Jack entered the Church at Easter of 2019. He is currently on hiatus from formal studies but will often be found studying theology, philosophy, or German, as well as indulging his penchants for music, poetry, wrestling, and various combatives.
St. Martin of Tours
Our patron served as an elite soldier in the Emperor’s guard in the Roman army in the early 4th century. It was during this period that Martin branded Christian consciousness with the iconic image of the mounted soldier giving his cloak to a freezing beggar. Soldier, monk, bishop, mystic, and saint: Martin exemplifies every ambition of the Academy for its students. St. Martin’s feast on November 11th, known formerly as Martinmas, was for centuries a kind of Catholic Thanksgiving where roasted beast and the fruits of the harvest adorned the table to be enjoyed in community. At St. Martin’s Academy, Martinmas is celebrated in that same spirit as we delight in the true festivity made possible by meaningful work.
Duc in Altum
St. Martin’s Academy’s motto Duc in altum (from our Lord’s direction to Peter, James and John to “cast out into deep waters”) goes beyond good fishing advice. It sums up the boldness of the adventure to which our Lord calls each of us in pursuit of His Will. You can play safely in the shallows, or, casting out into the deep, catch something of Real, Everlasting value.
Theotokos Hall (Commons / Lodge)
We broke ground on our first and largest building in Fall 2017, and our students moved in at the beginning of the 2019-20 academic year. Sustainably constructed of native oak timbers and stone, this building has served the needs of the entire school and will remain the permanent dining hall and hearth after our student bunkhouses are constructed.
To accommodate growth in enrollment, we will be adding bunkhouses to house 12 boys with each house operating under the leadership of a Senior Captain. These simple, Spartan structures will be built by staff and students together out of native timbers.
As our student body grows to 60 at capacity, we will complete construction of our bunkhouses to give us a total of 5, each housing 12 young men. Bunkhouses will have basic amenities such as electricity and running water and will be maintained, cleaned and cared for by the students.
Library & Amphitheatre
As our school and campus mature, we’ll add a beautiful, sustainably constructed academic building with classrooms, faculty offices and a robust library. An amphitheater for plays, concerts, talent shows and re-enactments of Pericles’ funeral oration will grace the hillside.
The crown jewel of our campus will be our Chapel, built of native stone and situated on the highest point of campus, facing due East. From Morning Prayer and Holy Mass to the recitation of the Rosary and the chanting of Compline, life will radiate outwards from the Blessed Sacrament to give meaning and purpose to everything we do at St. Martin’s.
Nature is never spent. There lives the dearest freshness deep down things.
Will your son be in high school in Fall 2021? Let’s talk. Please submit this form and we’ll be in touch to discuss whether Saint Martin’s might be a good fit.
Please note: As of June 2020 we have accepted as many students as we can accommodate for the 2020/21 academic year.