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Great Hearts Maryvale Preparatory Academy to graduate all 27 seniors

Posted at 6:03 PM, May 19, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-19 23:16:47-04

MARYVALE, Ariz. — A Valley charter school will graduate 100 percent of their senior class later this month.

"I think it sends the message -- this is possible," said Mac Esau, the headmaster at Great Hearts Maryvale Preparatory Academy.

The 27 seniors will be the school's first graduating class.

Located on Camelback Road near 51st Avenue, the Title I school serves a lot of students from low-income households.

Esau told ABC15 that recruiting families to a charter school was difficult.

"Actually, there weren't many charter operators in the area," he said.

"So we did a lot of pre-work before opening this school," Esau added.

In Arizona, only 75% of high school seniors graduate. However, that number is worse in the Maryvale area.

High school senior Lisa Garcia will be one of the 27 students walking in graduation next weekend.

She said that her family is very excited for her.

"Especially since I'm the oldest, it's their first time, their oldest daughter is graduating... my mom has been really caught up in party planning," she said.

Garcia is the school's student council president and has a 4.7 GPA.

She plans on going to ASU after graduating and wants to study engineering.

Even though she wanted to go to another school, initially, she said she's happy she ended up at Maryvale Prep.

"I did not expect to do as much as I actually accomplished," she said.

Last year, only 16 other schools in Arizona had a 100% graduation rate.

Esau attributes some of the success to their educators and the students' families.

"We found something by way of partnerships with families and building self-efficacy in students where they see, 'I can do this, I can be successful in high school and beyond,' and so my hope it lets even more collaboration across the educational landscape," he said.