Mesa’s Pathfinder Academy recently received boxes of books for their school library from ANWA, a national LDS writers’ organization.
“We were thrilled at the recent ANWA book drive and surprised when they gave us several hundred books for our library—some of the titles are even written by the members of ANWA!” says Susan Stradling, principal.
“We are so grateful to this wonderful organization of talented writers. The books are much needed and appreciated!” Stradling added.
Pathfinder Academy, located in east Mesa, had its beginnings in 1992 when Stradling began homeschooling her own ten children in their basement.
“I was concerned about the quality of education they were getting in the public school. I wanted them exposed to the great classics in literature, true history and our great heritage of being Americans,” says Stradling.
Stradling opened her school up to other children then chartered her school and built some classrooms onto her home. Over the next sixteen years her school grew to 100 students. She placed her school under the Sequoia Schools; in 2014, Sequoia built a school designed to look like Monticello, Thomas Jefferson’s home.
Pathfinder Academy has grown to 330 students ranging from K-8 and is a back-to-basics school with a proven system of phonics used for reading. Students read children’s classics and recite poetry, and there is an emphasis on history and the Constitution. The children begin learning Greek and Latin roots in the 3rd grade.
Strading says, “I created a program called ‘Say It to Know It’ in which teachers and students spend the first part of each day saying things together out loud. They say Greek and Latin roots and their definitions, parts of speech and literary terms, as well as countries and capitals, names of presidents, etc.”
“Because the vocabulary of each subject is most important to learning, I wrote short poems for math, geography, history, science, and even about Arizona, to help students remember and understand. These are repeated daily. As a result, students know hundreds of poems and terms. This program has proven to be extremely effective,” Stradling says.
Deb Eaton, ANWA Past-President, says, “When Susan Stradling took us on a tour of Pathfinder Academy, we were excited to see the beautiful library, but, as authors, sad to see some empty shelves. We realized we just had to do a book drive.”
“Donating books was an amazing experience as writers, parents and grandparents, members of ANWA—knowing that these books will be a catalyst for knowledge, creativity, and limitless possibilities for young minds.”
ANWA, American Night Writers Association is an International writing organization open to both men and women members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. With over 340 members worldwide, the organization hosts monthly chapter meetings, yearly workshops, conferences and writers’ retreats.
Melinda Sanchez, ANWA President, says, “Hosting a book drive for Pathfinder Academy was a two-fold pleasure: the joy of knowing many children would be able to enjoy hours of reading, and meeting the amazing principal, Susan Stradling.”
“The students of Pathfinder Academy have one of the most amazing educational programs I’ve ever seen, and much of it was written and created by their own founder, Susan Stradling. It is obvious that Principal Stradling has changed hundreds of children’s lives and will continue to do so for many years to come.”
For more information or to join ANWA, see www.anwa-lds.org.