Buckeye’s newest high school broke ground during a ceremony led by state and local dignitaries on Sept. 2.
Sequoia Pathfinder Academy High School, located at 20370 W. Roosevelt Street, is set to open spring 2022.
“I’m grateful for another opportunity for kids in Buckeye to have another place to attend school,” Rep. Joel John of District 4 said.
“I’m grateful to see more schools popping up in the area, creating more options for kids, especially to charter schools.”
Opening an additional high school in Buckeye is “perfect timing,” according to Phillip Wooley, principal and assistant superintendent of STEAM Schools.
“If you would have told me 25 years ago that the population of Buckeye would be over 70,000 with approximately 28 elementary schools and 10 high schools, I wouldn’t believe you. That growth means competition for quality schools,” Wooley said.
Sequoia Pathfinder Academy will feature 20 classrooms, including three state-of-the-art computer, maker and science labs, a synthetic turf football/soccer/lacrosse field, wood floor basketball and volleyball gymnasium, performing arts stage, cafeteria and office space.
While the school isn’t set to open until 2022, ninth and 10th graders have started their school year as Sequoia Pathfinder’s first students.
“Sequoia Pathfinder ninth and 10th graders, who are already attending the high school this year, are making great academic strides and look forward to moving from their current location at Summit Church to the new campus this coming spring,” Wooley said.
Summit Community Church, located across the street from the new high school, will provide the space to students until construction is completed.
Pastor Nate Schaus referred to having the students in the church as a “full circle effect,” as Summit Community Church previously rented space from Verrado High School and now is able to do the same for local students.
“There is something beautiful and poetic about now being able to open our doors and for you to be able to launch your school and to be able to begin your high school out of that space,” he said. “And in many ways, for our church, and for me as a pastor, I believe that’s the way that the communities and local partners should be able to work together.
“You are in for something special this year, because I know for many people in our church, to be able to see the construction happening, to be a part of that journey, to be able to say we were a part of that first step is just a cool experience.”
Before the golden shovels were turned, eighth grader Michael DeRosie-Drye shared his perspective on being a student at Sequoia and what excites him most about his future high school.
“To be a student at Sequoia is to be a good student,” DeRosie-Drye said. “What I like to think is that this school is great and is getting better every day, every minute. I think the new high school that’s being built is going to be the best school I’ll ever go to.”