School Strives ‘To Produce Great Men and Women, with Virtue and Wisdom’

by Blake Herzog

For the past 18 years, Trinity Christian School has offered Greater Prescott students a different approach to K-12 education, one that’s suffused not only with faith but a classical approach to teaching with its roots in ancient Greece and Rome.

Headmaster Kyle Maestri said students coming onto the campus at 1077 Mogollon Road in Prescott after attending other types of schools face a bit of a learning curve, but it’s structured so it corresponds to the child’s development.

Giving an example of a child enrolling there for the first time in seventh grade, “what we’ve found is that because classical education started with the premise that students are designed a certain way, and they’re designed to learn a certain way at different stages of life, that they naturally actually prefer discussion orientation in junior high. I mean, what junior high student doesn’t want to learn how to argue?” he asked.

Based on the trivium model embraced at many classical Christian schools, Trinity’s curriculum in grades K-6 focuses on memorization of facts, languages, numbers, songs and more to teach students how to use language well, Maestri said.

Seventh and eighth graders are then brought into the “logic” stage, which involves much debate and interaction with others to develop their knowledge and conviction. High schoolers then step into the “rhetoric stage, and seniors must produce and defend a 20-page thesis before graduation.

Music is woven throughout the curriculum, starting with bells and songs for the youngest students before they start learning the violin in second grade.

“There’s a lot of studies on early music instruction (that it) really helps with brain development, but also, even more close to our heart is just the idea that people are whole souls, and giving them exposure to the arts and having that be a part of their development. It’s just really good for them to develop virtue and a bigger picture of life,” he said.

All K-6 students also have art and physical education classes daily. Older students can choose from afterschool activities including theater, band and choir, a robotics club and competitive sports in cross-country, basketball, volleyball or soccer.

The ultimate goal is “to produce great men and women, with virtue and wisdom,” Maestri said.

The current campus is located in space rented from Willow Hills Baptist Church and a nearby building it owns, but Trinity is an independent school serving students from some 50 churches around the area, Maestri said: “We’re what I would call a broadly evangelical school with a statement of faith that embraces families from different churches throughout the area.”

Service projects done throughout the academic year are one way that faith is connected to school activities from local cleanups or painting projects to diaper drives and handing out supplies to the homeless in Phoenix.
“We don’t see that as just sort of an auxiliary thing that we do for our students, but rather we see it as an integral part of their education. It’s really important to us that the students who are receiving such an incredible educational opportunity are also developing a heart for service for others,” he said.

Trinity has about 365 students this year with another 50 on a waiting list, so it’s getting ready to develop a new campus on 17.5 acres the school bought on Deep Well Ranch Road just west of Prescott Regional Airport. See the story in this issue’s Prescott Pioneer section for a detailed look at the plans.

As for the impending school year fraught with public health concerns, Trinity’s plan is to reopen for on-campus learning Aug. 17. The school has been adding touchless faucets, windows to rooms that don’t have enough and other upgrades to reduce high-touch surfaces and improve ventilation, and there’s a contingency plan to move to hybrid campus-online learning if needed.

“The vast majority of our families want to come back and have on-campus learning and understand the risks, but still, it’s time to do that.”

More information is available by calling 928-445-6306 or visiting www.trinitychristianschoolaz.com.