News Releases

St. Michael Academy Celebrates Its Many Accomplishments with a Comprehensive Year-in-Review

PETOSKEY – May 31, 2019 – St. Michael Academy (SMA), Northern Michigan’s only Classical Catholic high school, today provided a review of its outstanding 2018-19 academic year.

SMA Principal Dr. Richard Brake stated, “We’re wrapping up a groundbreaking year, far and away the finest in our brief history. Our highly-credentialed teachers, coaches, and staff – along with our exceptional students – have worked together to make this an unforgettable renaissance at SMA.”

Dr. Brake continued, “From our smashing presentation of The Importance of Being Earnest to the achievements of our first-ever Track & Field teams – from our Spring Mission Trip to our Senior Thesis presentations – and from our fundraising success this winter to our compelling lecture series this spring – in the classroom, in faith and service, on the athletic fields, and in the arts, we are inspiring our students and their families with the True, Good, and Beautiful of western civilization!”

The following provides a partial list of happenings and accomplishments this past school year.


In the Classroom…

At SMA, students are formed by looking beyond the temporal and mundane and towards the eternal and transcendent.  Students are not only trained in rhetoric, logic, and oratory, but are also taught to contemplate the permanent things like love, beauty, justice, and truth, which are found throughout the literature, art, and music of human history.

SMA seniors defended rigorously researched thesis statements following the scholastic procedures of St. Thomas Aquinas, engaging a broad array of compelling topics including theological economics, American foreign policy, and other defining social issues of our time.

SMA implemented a new tri-weekly student-led prayer service and Socratic discussion called “Forum” – connecting the Catholic faith to “the real world.”

SMA brought renowned experts on Classical Education to the Little Traverse Bay region for its first annual lecture series, cultivating intellectual life in the community.

At the SMA Science Fair, students employed the scientific method, presenting experiments ranging from the effect of trebuchet design on projectile distance, to catalyzing endothermic and exothermic reactions in the making of ice cream, to the “slime mold maze challenge.”

The SMA Quiz Bowl team continued its tradition of excellence this year with multiple wins in local competitions and an appearance at WCMU in Mount Pleasant.


In Faith & Service…

The Catholic faith is integral to life at SMA, with prayer infused throughout every day. Students put their faith into action through service to the community, which provides them with invaluable life lessons in the joy of self-giving and practical Christian work.

Mass was celebrated by local priests, including our Chaplain, Fr. Peter Wigton, twice-weekly in the school’s Saint Pope John Paul II Chapel throughout the school year.

Student-led “Days of Reflection” (one-day retreats) took place in the fall and spring and the celebration of Michaelmas, honoring SMA’s patron saint, took place last fall.

SMA students devote their time, talent, and treasure to several local organizations, including Brother Dan’s Food Pantry, the Knights of Columbus, and Catholic Charities.

The SMA Pro-Life Club provided strong and visible advocacy by volunteering at local pregnancy centers and praying for the unborn outside of Planned Parenthood.

The Spring Mission Trip featured volunteer efforts at Detroit’s Capuchin Soup Kitchen and Catholic Charities of Lansing.


On the Athletic Fields…

SMA made great strides towards extending its “culture of excellence” into its Athletics Department. Through year-round opportunities to train and compete in a variety of sports, students increased strength and fitness while instilling essential Christian virtues.

The Boys Cross Country nearly qualified for the State Finals in its first season, placing 4th (of 19 schools) at its Regional.

The Boys Basketball team completed its first year of Varsity competition with a 4-7 record, featuring wins over Grace Baptist (twice), Vanderbilt, and NMCA.

The Boys & Girls Track teams made an impact in their first seasons, with the Boys team placing 9th (of 17 schools) at its Regional.

Several SMA students have participated in a variety of sports with other local schools through Co-op Agreements, most notably on Petoskey’s Regional Champion Hockey team.


In the Arts…

Music, Art, and Drama are integral to the Classical curriculum at SMA as they cultivate a love of beauty, a penchant for creativity, and a deepened appreciation of the sacred.

The all-new SMA Drama Club stormed the stage with its captivating performance of The Importance of Being Earnest at the Crooked Tree Arts Center.

The SMA Choir led the singing at in-house Masses throughout the school year, and also provided the National Anthem at all SMA home basketball games.

SMA continued its tradition of having students perform the Living Stations of the Cross this past Lenten season.

SMA continued its promotion of social graces by sponsoring Social Dance classes for area teenagers, furthering its commitment to a healthy courtship climate for young adults.


The above and many other accomplishments were only possible through the efforts of the outstanding teachers, coaches, and staff at SMA, many of whom were new to the school this year.

Dr. Brake concluded, “We invite you to join our school family next year as we build upon our momentum and success. We are forming joy-filled graduates who are ready to become the future leaders of our country. We do so within a caring, nurturing environment that values every student as a child of God and supports parents as they strive to raise happy, resilient adults during these challenging times. It really is a new day here at SMA and I urge you to stop by to witness for yourself how the ‘St. Michael Difference’ can deliver a better education for your children.”

SMA is now accepting new students for the 2019-20 academic year. SMA is committed to providing a Classical Catholic education and is pleased to offer tuition assistance to qualifying families. No student is denied enrollment because of financial reasons.

For more information please contact the SMA office at 231-881-9025 or email Dr. Brake at

Established in 2013, SMA is the first Catholic high school in the Little Traverse area since 1972, and Northern Michigan’s only high school offering a Classical Curriculum. SMA strives to develop the whole person, cultivating academic, moral, and all-around excellence in its students, from within a caring and attentive environment.