We love the small size of our Academy of Tucson District. It allows us all to truly know – and value – each other. To that end, we reached out to recent AOT alumni to hear about where they are now and how their time with us has influenced their adult life.
The size of Academy of Tucson is an advantage that many of our graduates value. Andy Tadlock (’14), says, “I enjoyed the size of AOT.” He adds, “Smaller class sizes allowed teachers to be able to spend more time with individual students. The size of the school also allowed students opportunities to play on sports teams without getting cut and to take elective credits such as Music or Art without having to compete for sports in the classes.” Andy is a US Air Force officer, attending flight school, and says, “I also enjoyed the honors physics and calculus programs. These classes were taught in ways that made difficult subjects bearable (and even fun when it came to physics).”
Another common theme we hear from our graduates is that they appreciate the lasting friendships they formed with classmates during their years at AOT. Michelle Chung (’14) says, “The most rewarding aspect of AOTHS when I was there is that I was able to make so many new friends.” She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Pharmacy at the University of Arizona and says that her time at Academy of Tucson taught her, “what it takes to be a leader and being able to balance workload and social life.”
Alexandra Harris (’15) balanced academics, sports, and friendships while at Academy of Tucson and told us, “AOT provides quality academic education and effective preparation of their students to enter the post high school world with confidence!” After graduating with honors from the University of Arizona, she works full time for a non-profit while pursuing a master's degree and is married to another AOT graduate.
Her husband, Tanner Harris (’15), fondly remembers interacting with his teachers, which is something we hear from many graduates. He describes them as consistently, “respectful to the students and other staff.” Tanner describes AOT as a place that helped him, “strengthen all of my skill and created the opportunity for me to get into college with my tuition covered.” He adds, “If your student is ready to jump in put in the effort, they can thrive at AOT, and be put on a path to success”. Tanner graduated from UA with a degree in accounting and is the Program Coordinator for the University of Arizona Men’s Ice Hockey Team, a position he created for himself!
AOT also has ample opportunities for studying in the arts. During his years at Academy of Tucson, Jacob Walters (’15) was very active in the school’s music program and academic clubs. He went on to earn a Bachelor’s in Music and now serves as a music director and music instructor among other creative pursuits. For any potential Academy of Tucson students or families, he advises, “It is very small, and is a great community to be a part of. The academics are top of the line, and it serves as a safe and easy place to grow into yourself.”
Many of our graduates have stories about the caring teachers, who nurtured them, preparing them for future success. Melissa Hamann (’15) told us, “AOT is a place where you will be challenged by teachers who genuinely care.” After graduating from AOT, she was, “invited back to establish the theater class, which has been the most rewarding experience of my life. Working with the students and Ms. Figueroa showed me that teaching and directing are the path I want to pursue!” Post-graduation, Melissa continues to expand her horizons, writing novels, starting her own business, managing employees at work, and pursuing a bachelor’s degree.
One Academy of Tucson student studied education in college, graduated early, and now teaches middle school math at AOT, carrying on the legacy of teachers caring for students. Kobe Henke (’15) says that when she was a student, she could feel how invested her teachers were in her success, preparing her for the intensity of college. AOT is a family affair for Kobe, as her husband is also a graduate, and her mother, Wendi Allardice, is our AOTHS Principal!