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Archive for the ‘Our Progress’ Category

Renaissance Network Annual Report on Thunderbird

Posted on July 31st, 2012

Thunderbird Adventist Academy has successfully completed its first year as a Renaissance Network School under the management of the Alumni Awards Foundation in collaboration with the Arizona Conference of Seventh-day Adventists. The following areas highlight the accomplishments of the students, teachers and leadership at the academy.


  • Extensive recruitment efforts increased the opening enrollment from 112 to 137 students—a 20 percent jump.
  • 33 seniors graduated with 32 students bound for college. Many of TAA’s 2012 graduates will be attending our NAD colleges—with at least one graduate in attendance at each of our NAD colleges.
  • (more…)

Filed under News, Our Progress

Rick Maloon Accepts Principal Position at Thunderbird

Posted on April 19th, 2012

Thunderbird Adventist Academy recently announced that Rick Maloon will join the team as principal for the 2012-2013 school year. Below is a clip from issue seven of The Thunderer.

Filed under News, Our Progress

Thunderbird Project Featured in Maranatha Mission Story Episode

Posted on April 16th, 2012

Maranatha Mission Stories recently featured the Thunderbird dormitory renovation project in one of their episodes. Maranatha Mission Stories is a weekly half hour show about mission stories from around the world. The show airs weekly on 3ABN, The Hope Channel and other stations.

Here is a look at how AAF and Maranatha partnered to improve Thunderbird!

Filed under News, Our Progress

See the Latest Photos

Posted on April 10th, 2012

The once drab dormitories at Thunderbird Adventist Academy have gone through a complete overhaul. New carpet, paint, cabinetry and countertops have brightened up the living spaces.

Maranatha Volunteers International finished their four-week commitment in March. But some volunteers have stayed by to assist the local crew and to see the project through to completion. We want to say a THANK YOU to everyone that has put in time and resources to make this project a success!

Here is a quick look at the latest updates: new cabinetry and carpet in the dorm rooms, renovated bathrooms, repurposed space for dean’s quarters. (Photos By: Kristy Conklin)

Filed under News, Our Progress

Thunderbird Renovation Progress

Posted on February 22nd, 2012

The Maranatha renovation project at Thunderbird Adventist Academy is going strong. The friendly volunteers have been making tremendous progress in the short two weeks that they have been on site.

The boy’s dormitory has been brightened up with a fresh coat of white paint in the rooms and hallway. The girl’s dorm is still in the process of being painted.

On deck for today: the renovated showers will be cemented and tile will be laid in the boy’s dorm lobby, along with details in the girl’s dormitory bathroom, kitchen and laundry room. Maranatha is also hoping to have carpet, lighting and windows installed by the end of the week.

We want to say a BIG THANK YOU to Maranatha and their volunteers. They are making a huge impact that will help the life and growth of Thunderbird for years to come!

Below are photos of the progress. For daily reports visit our Facebook page or Thunderbird’s Facebook page.

mid-remodel of the assistant girl's dean apartment

mid-remodel of the assistant girl's dean apartment

Gutted/mid-renovation girl's dorm bathroom

gutted/mid-renovation girl's dorm bathroom

work in progress in the girl's dorm shower

work in progress in the girl's dorm shower

working on the girl's dorm kitchen

working on the girl's dorm kitchen

big rig for a big job

big rig for a big job

Boy's dorm lobby

boy's dorm lobby

Boy's dorm hallway with a fresh coat of white paint

boy's dorm hallway with a fresh coat of white paint

boy's dorm room

boy's dorm room

boy's dorm hallway, complete with blue doors

boy's dorm hallway, complete with blue doors

Filed under News, Our Progress

Thunderbird Newsletter Features Renaissance Network Progress

Posted on January 23rd, 2012

One of Thunderbird Adventist Academy’s awesome English teachers, Rondi Aastrup, took the initiative to start a newsletter for Thunderbird. The publication is called “The Thunderer” and will come out twice a month. In the first issue, they featured many of the Renaissance Network initiatives. Read the Thunderer edition here.

Filed under News, Our Progress

Thanks for Joining the Matching Program

Posted on January 11th, 2012

We would like to say a BIG THANK YOU to everyone that donated during our first ever Make a Difference x3 matching program. We successfully closed the program yesterday by reaching our cap of $100,000, bringing in a total of $300,000 to AAF!

These new funds will help build the infrastructure of the Renaissance Network, making it possible to expand the program to more schools in the coming months. We are currently in the process of reviewing applicants to accept for the 2012-2013 school year. Look for the announcement this spring.

Filed under News, Our Progress

Dorm Renovations Scheduled for Thunderbird

Posted on January 3rd, 2012

Thunderbird Adventist Academy (TAA) received a merry Christmas gift when Maranatha Volunteers International announced their plans to provide the manpower and funds to renovate the dormitories this February and March!

Last month Maranatha partnered with the Renaissance Network to oversee a variety of renovations at TAA. Originally, smaller projects were planned for the January visit, such as landscaping, painting, cleaning and carpeting.

Now, with these new funds, Maranatha is able to do so much more! Maranatha will be bringing an army of volunteers to complete phase one of renovations—one wing of the boy’s dorm and one wing of the girl’s dorm. The other section of the dorms will house students while the construction takes place.

The renovations will include upgrading the bathrooms to be handicap accessible, painting, replacing 183 windows, countertops, upgrading lighting throughout, replacing tile/carpet and some framing. To allow enough time to order materials and recruit volunteers, the project has been rescheduled for February 13 through March 6, 2012.

If you would like to help transform the dormitories at Thunderbird, you can sign up to join the Maranatha team at

If you would like to contribute to this project follow the link below. Please leave us a message in the preferred area to donate field that says, “Thunderbird Dorm Project.”

Donate Online Here

Filed under News, Our Progress

Year in Review

Posted on December 16th, 2011

When we decided to launch the Renaissance Network early this year, we had an overwhelming response. Many believed that if the Adventist school system was going to survive long-term, it desperately needed a fresh approach. Now after one of our most challenging yet fulfilling years at AAF, we have never been more excited about our progress and thankful for the ways God has been working on behalf of His schools.

As the year comes to a close, we continue to gain momentum in our efforts to expand the Renaissance Network and bring much-needed tools and resources to Adventist schools. We recognize that none of these accomplishments would have been possible alone, and we are truly humbled by God’s blessings and support of so many who want to build a solid future for Adventist schools.

Below is a quick review of milestones reached this year.

AAF Launched the Renaissance Network

Early 2010—We pulled together a team of educators, church leaders, and entrepreneurs to develop a new management concept called the Renaissance Network. This new structure of governance and management extends beyond what the existing system is able to offer, giving schools access to a powerful central support system. Read more here.

Later 2010—We presented plans for the Renaissance Network to the NAD K-12 Board of Education. They encouraged us to begin by developing the program with one or two academies.

February—The leadership team for the Renaissance Network was partially assembled. Including, David Daniels, Principal of Takoma Academy, and Greg Gerard, Principal of Geaorgia-Cumberland Academy. Wendel Tucker later joined the leadership team as the (more…)

Filed under News, Our Progress

Renaissance Network Welcomes Thunderbird Adventist Academy as the First Pilot School

Posted on August 8th, 2011

We at the Alumni Awards Foundation (AAF) are proud to announce that we will be partnering with Thunderbird Adventist Academy (TAA) in Scottsdale, Arizona, to become the first school to enter the Renaissance Network for the 2011-2012 school year.

The Renaissance Network is a program developed and funded by AAF. Its purpose is to “rebirth” Adventist secondary education into a network of schools that deliver excellence in the spiritual, academic, social, and physical development of students. The Renaissance Network will provide outside resources and management expertise to TAA, which will be utilized to facilitate school improvements. Initial funds from AAF are being released immediately for marketing and recruitment, facility upgrades and academic enhancements.

“This program has been such a long time in coming, and we are thrilled to finally be on the ground working with Thunderbird and the Arizona Conference,” said Melanie Litchfield, AAF Director. “We could not ask for a more vibrant, spiritually-minded student body and a campus rich with opportunities for growth.” Litchfield said that by working with the academy and conference, AAF hopes to create a model that can be replicated in Adventist schools across the Division.

Arizona Conference President Tony Anobile said the conference is excited to partner with AAF on a joint quest to make TAA a school of excellence. “I have sensed the Foundation’s sincere desire to work with us and to make sure that there is a solid level of comfort on our part as we move forward,” Anobile said.

AAF has appointed Wendel Tucker to lead the work of the Renaissance Network at TAA. Tucker brings to the Renaissance Network 26 years of experience in Adventist education, and 20 years in public education. Tucker and Ruben Escalante, TAA interim principal, have already created a plan for campus improvements before the start of classes this fall. Exterior painting began mid-July, and landscaping upgrades are scheduled for August. A major reorganization of classrooms and a school-wide clean-up will be completed before classes begin. Buildings, walkways and grounds will receive lighting upgrades to address safety concerns, as well.

“I like to improve curb appeal,” Tucker said. “What people see driving by will make them stop and ask questions.” He said it is the goal of the leadership team to pique the interest of community residents so that they stop-in to find out more about TAA’s renovation and academic programs. “We believe in specific markets, Adventist academies should be the Christian school of choice.”

Thunderbird Campus Tucker and Escalante want students to know that they are the number one priority. Therefore, first projects underway include renovation of the Student Center, library and cafeteria. During a campus visit, these were the areas students expressed as needing improvement. By year-end, TAA will furnish the center and cafeteria with seating donated from Fashion Square, a local high-end shopping center that is being remodeled.

TAA’s partnership with AAF will also result in immediate improvements to the academic program. TAA is strengthening its math and science curriculum, and expanding offerings for college-bound curriculum. Courses being added to the curriculum for the upcoming school year include Spanish I, Honors Physics, Honors Calculus, and technology courses. Co-curricular improvements include a reinstatement of the school’s music program; a music teacher has already been added to the staff, a touring bus is being secured and the facilities are scheduled for refurbishment.

Counseling and teacher-led advisory groups will be among the resources available to assist students in preparing them for career pathways that lead to meaningful post-secondary employment. A data analysis system will also be implemented to review student success and track progress toward achievement of the higher academic standards.

“The basic course of study for all students must demonstrate rigor and relevance necessary to gain entrance to any university in the nation,” said Tucker.

TAA teachers will benefit from Renaissance Network resources, as well. Funding for individual and group professional growth plans will be provided, and teachers will be expected to become members of the appropriate professional organization within their field of expertise. All teachers will receive training in the use of the most up-to-date and relevant instructional technology for their classrooms.

“We have the opportunity to help the faculty be the best they can be,” Tucker said. “More specifically, we are going to provide them with the skills needed and a memorandum of understanding for expectation.”

Teachers will participate in a student recruitment plan in partnership with the Renaissance Network’s leadership team. As a part of the recruitment plan, the student work program will be revitalized, offering students an opportunity to earn a portion of their academic expenses.

“The overall culture being promoted by the Renaissance Network is to deliver the greatest college-bound educational experience possible,” Litchfield said. “We are going to be very objective and realistic… but our long-range plan is to create centers of excellence.”

AAF intends to expand the program to more schools for the 2012-2013 school year. Schools accepted will establish a partnership with the Renaissance Network through a contractual agreement.

“I believe that this model will work for other schools as well,” Anobile said. “We are serious about our commitment to educate for eternity and AAF shares that goal. God will bless.”

Do you have more questions about the Renaissance Network? Read more here.

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