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Trinity Academy sees more growth

School that began as K-3, graduated its first high school class last year

Posted: August 24, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 24, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Thomas McGillicuddy participates in a discussion on his first day in Harmony Stickles' fourth-grade class at Trinity Classical Academy in Valencia on Thursday.

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Thursday marked the 12th first day of school at Trinity Classical Academy in Valencia, but the constant motion was far from routine for Liz and Wally Caddow.

In fact, the couple — who started the school as a K-3 in 2001 after casual conversations led to years of planning and curricula development — still seemed to enjoy taking it all in as they mingled in the hallway of their main campus building.

“God has just really blessed this place tremendously,” said Wally Caddow, the school’s managing director.

“I always wondered why no one created a place like this before, and now that we’ve done it, I know how hard it is do,” he said with a laugh. “But we’ve been really blessed.”

The lobby features classical paintings surrounding a pair of curved, red-carpeted staircases, offering visitors clues about the inspiration for the school’s educational model.

“A lot of people really want an integration of faith and learning in their child’s education,” Wally Caddow said. “And it’s not really a complete education without it.”

The faith-learning model is not new, he said.

“A classical model is a return to a way of education that people followed for hundreds of years.”

The Trinity educational experience is not inexpensive. While the school provides financial assistance to 60 percent of its students, the rest pay approximately $11,000 a school year.

But despite a tough economy, the school has seen marked growth.

This year, the school’s enrollment is 460, up from 405 students the year before for the K-12 school that saw its first high school class graduate last June. This school year’s figure could still grow a little with late enrollments, Wally Caddow said.

The students begin studying Latin in the sixth grade as part of a learning plan that’s split into three basic learning areas, Wally Caddow said.

Grammar and reasoning are the basis of the K-6 curricula; logic is a focus in the seventh and eighth grades. At the high school level, students take their acquired knowledge and apply it to the study of rhetoric, which culminates in a communitywide presentation offering students a chance to defend their theses to an audience.

“There is true fellowship here,” said Gretell Castro, who was visiting with other parents in the lobby Thursday.

“They’re not just positing information; (my children) are really learning a lot here,” Castro said. “Sometimes, I’ll see what they’re doing and say, ‘Man, did I miss out.’”



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