Stem at Chicago Jesuit Academy

Dear CJA Community,


STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) has always been an important part of the curriculum at CJA, and we are thrilled that our campus expansion will give our students even more access to STEM learning opportunities. In addition to a suite of new classrooms, our new building will include 2 spacious science labs, a makerspace equipped with 3D printers, a laser cutter and other maker equipment, and a video and audio recording studio. Our students can’t wait to use these spaces this fall!

This entire school year has been filled with magical moments of STEM. Most recently, we celebrated Pi Day, Women’s History Month and Earth Day. I hope you enjoy reading about what our students have accomplished lately.

Thank you for helping to make experiences like these possible for our scholars!


With gratitude,

Jessica Green Clement
Senior Development Officer

We are a little nerdy at CJA. March 14th is a special day for us because it’s Pi Day! Throughout the week, we celebrate Pi (3.14159) and end the week with our annual Pi recitation contest. This year, Josue of the 8th grade won the Pi recitation contest by reciting 150 digits of Pi from memory! Congratulations, Josue!

Calyle Peyton (Class of 2015) holds our Pi recitation record, having recited Pi to 623 places as an 8th grader. As a 5th grader, Calyle recited a remarkable 301 digits of Pi, increasing his count by over 100 digits annually. You can watch a video of Calyle reciting Pi as a 5th grader here. This spring, Calyle will graduate from the University of Pennsylvania, and we are so proud of all that he has accomplished.

Below are a few photos of our students playing math games, creating Pi art, graphing the frequency of Pi and eating pie thanks to our friends at JJ’s Bakery and Jewel-Osco.

In honor of Women’s History Month, we interviewed Azariah of the 4th grade. She was the first and only girl on CJA’s Robotics Team this school year. Azariah is incredibly proud to have helped her teammates make it to the State Championship this year. As you’ll read, Azariah is a leader in her class and hopes to pave the way for the girls who will follow in her footsteps at CJA. We can’t wait to see more girls on the Robotics team next school year! Way to go, Azariah!

What is your favorite thing about CJA?

My favorite thing is that if I ever get hurt [my teachers] will always make sure I’m okay and give me the stuff I need and treat me the way I need to be treated.

What made you want to join Robotics?

When I saw robots I said, “I’m signing up for this!”

How do you feel about being a member of the first cohort of girls at CJA?

It feels good to be one of the first girls so I can set an example for the girls who are going to be the second class of girls.

What’s something you’re most proud of?

I’m proud of being the only girl in Robotics, and I’m most proud of winning the [CJA] Robotics dance competition.

Is there a woman in your life who inspires you?

My mother and my grandmother. My mother because she tries hard to help us get what we need.

In addition to our Grad-at-Grad values, our work at CJA is guided by four Universal Apostolic Preferences, which prioritize caring for our common home, walking with the excluded, journeying with youth and showing the way to God. These priorities have shaped CJA’s growth, and we strive to live them out through the creation of our new girls’ program, the continued growth of our High School Bridge program, our campus expansion and the doubling of our enrollment across the next five years.


As we grow, we want to reduce our carbon footprint and make our campus more environmentally friendly and energy efficient. Our students, alumni, faculty and staff always strive to leave each space they visit better than how they found it. We compost organic waste from meals, and we work hard to be good stewards of the resources entrusted to us. With all of this in mind, our architects at SCB and our general contractor, Walsh Construction, have partnered with us to build an incredible addition to our campus that will have many energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly components, including solar panels for both our new and existing roof. The solar panels will provide 50% of the energy needed for the new building and save CJA hundreds of thousands of dollars in energy costs over the serviceable life of the panels.


The solar panels and other energy-efficient components of the new wing have also been wonderful educational tools for our students. This year, our state-qualifying Robotics Team spent time learning from SCB and Walsh about the solar panels and the city-required vehicle charging stations as part of their work to prepare for this year’s competition: “Superpowered: The Generation, Use & Distribution of Energy.” The team from Walsh Construction and our VP of Operations – Tom Van Grinsven – also continue to do a beautiful job giving all of our students regular tours of the site.


We remain on schedule to complete construction of the new building by August 2023. Please save the date for our Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony on Saturday, October 28th. If you would like a sneak peak of the construction project before then, please reach out to Mary Grawe at

Car Donation Request

CJA is in need of a car (4-6 seats) to help transport our alumni and members of our College & Career Persistence Team as they visit our alumni at high schools and colleges. If you have a car that is in good condition and you would like to donate to CJA, please reach out to Tom Van Grinsven at

Upcoming Events

  • Earth Day Observed – 4/21
  • CJA Closed for Memorial Day – 5/29
  • Last Day of School – 5/31
  • Graduation – 6/8
  • 5th and 6th Graders begin Summer Camp – 6/12