Anthem Prep Graduates First Senior Class!
The high school years are some of the most formative years of our lives. This is the time when independent thinking begins, useful life lessons are learned, and lasting friendships are made. For 14 Anthem teens, these years will also be a time when they were members of an elite group: Anthem Preparatory Academy’s first senior class.
Dominic Clark, Ray Hoffman, Tabatha Lothes, Kaitlyn Males, Snehit Mikkilineni, Samantha Naughton, Jazmin Neira, Connor Paxton, Morgan Rone, Jennifer Shibata, Keaghan Symmonds, Conor Timmerman, Megan Villandre and Isabella Villanueva all earned their high school diplomas May 30 from the public charter academy and became the school’s first graduating class. For the administration and faculty, the commencement was triumphant. For the students, it was a privilege.
“It’s definitely an honor to be part of the first graduating class,” says Connor Paxton. “We’ve had a unique experience than the other classes have.”
Says fellow graduate Morgan Rone: “I can’t imagine not having had this experience.”
Most of the graduates attended the school as ninth graders when it opened in August 2010 with only 270 students in grades three through nine. As part of Great Hearts Academies, Anthem Prep serves grades six through 12, and Anthem Archway serves kindergarten through fifth grade. Since its opening, Anthem Prep has added a grade each year to accommodate the promotion of its students.
Anthem Archway completed its primary curriculum this year by adding kindergarten, first and second grades. As the 2013-14 school year came to a close last month, both schools had a combined enrollment of 694 students.
The class of 2014 is proud of the school’s growth. “It is really exciting to be part of the first class,” says Megan Villandre, “because we’ve gotten to see the school grow.”
The group has certainly made lasting friendships by becoming close-knit, both in and out of school. They often exercise with each other at the community center, go hiking on Daisy Mountain, or have picnics in the park. They spent their spring break together on a class trip to Washington, D.C. and to Gettysburg, Pennsylvania in March, having raised the money for the trip by operating a school snack cart and selling candy grams. The group especially bonded earlier this year when they shared the stresses of balancing the college admission process with the rigorous preparation of their senior thesis.
“We’ll miss each other,” says Kaitlyn Males. “We feel like brothers and sisters. We have little groups, but at the end we all come together.”
The students agree that the intimate education they received prepared them well for college. In fact, 11 of the 14 students are receiving scholarships for their continuing education. Anthem Prep’s assistant headmaster and college counselor Alison Westerlind reports that $1.9 million in scholarship money was offered to the Class of 2014, to be used over the course of four years. Some of the schools the students will be attending are Arizona State University’s Honors College, Hastings College, the Honors College at the University of Alabama, Northern Arizona University’s Honors program, the University of Dallas and the University of Notre Dame.
While the group is still deciding on a class gift, they know they will keep in touch by appointing an alumni liaison. As for words of wisdom for Anthem Prep’s next senior class, they concur: “Don’t procrastinate on the thesis. Listen to the teachers when they say to work on it!”
ImagesAZ congratulates Anthem Prep’s Class of 2014! We are excited to see what paths these pioneers will take as they begin their journeys into the world.