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The Garcia, Diaz and Brei families: All in for the children

Local families made changes to put their kids’ learning first

Mother with children leaving school
June 22, 2022

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in ASU Thrive’s special photography issue, celebrating a day in the life of inspiring people across the ASU community. 

Five years ago, the Garcia family was at a crossroads. Their two boys at that time weren’t challenged in school.

“They weren’t getting the science and math they needed,” Marisol Garcia explains, “and we wanted our sons to get the best education they could get.” 

So she and her husband began looking for solutions and heard about ASU Preparatory Academy, a network of charter schools focused on STEM and college prep. 

Now, five years later, all three of her kids attend ASU Prep in downtown Phoenix, and Garcia has switched jobs to be closer to them.

“I was traveling for work a lot,” she explains. In order to be home more often, she took a job at ASU Prep.

Noah, age 15, is in 10th grade and working ahead in math. He’ll start taking college classes as an 11th grader. Kaiden, age 13, is in eighth grade. Her youngest, Raider, 9, is in fourth grade.

“The kids love it here,” Garcia says. “The staff is amazing.” 

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Mother and child eating at picnic table

Marisol and Raider

“The teachers (at ASU Prep) do a great job of keeping the kids engaged,” says Marisol (pictured left with her son, Raider).

A fourth grader, Raider says his favorite subject is math, largely because his teacher makes it fun with games like long-division bingo. Because she changed jobs to be closer to her three boys, she and Raider often eat lunch together.

Young student raising hand in class and two young students walking together on campus

Raider enjoys learning and is engaged in his classes Right: Several years ago, Kaiden and Noah asked their parents to change their school so they could excel and advance in their learning.

Student sitting at desk doing classwork

Noah started taking high school math classes as a middle schooler

Noah takes his studies seriously and is excited about his education.

“ASU Prep isn’t just focused on students getting accepted to college,” he says. “They also give you the tools you need to earn scholarships.”

Young boy walkin through school hall wearing backpack

Teacher working with young boy in a classroom

The Breis chose ASU Prep for their children, including second grader, Zen (seen above working with his teacher, Patricia Arellanes) when they moved to the area in 2019.

“I wanted to make the transition as soft as possible by putting them in a small school where they would have more individual attention,” says their mother, Kara Jean.

Young boy playing basketball

Chuy Diaz enjoys time outside at recess working on his basketball moves.

Mother hugging boys when they get home

Norma Diaz welcomes her sons — sixth grader, Chuy, 11th grader, Luiz, and ninth grader, Angel — home from school. Over the years, the Diaz family has sent six of their seven kids to ASU Prep.

“I like that the school is connected with ASU and that they prepare the students to go to university,” Diaz says.

Photos by Brandon Sullivan. Story by Shelley Flannery.

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