TIA Grad Cristian Navaro Talks About Owning A Business

Cristian Navaro went to TIA for 4 years of high school, graduating in 2017. He is currently attending Pima Community College and will transfer to the U of A for a business degree.  He talks about owning a business now, thanks to TIA and YEA. Cristian says, “I’ve been into business ever since I was young. The thought of owning a business and being my own boss seems to be for me.” Dr. Jennifer Hererra remembers when Cristian came to TIA in 9th grade.  She says he’s always been a student that stood out because of his intense interest in owning a business. He always went after the unique contribution that he could make through a business.

Project Kickz

Cristian says, “I wanted to get into business now so that I can make a little extra money to help out with college, food and gas and stuff like that. The business I started is called Project Kickz, which is a sneaker shop that buys, sells and trades shoes and also customizes and restores shoes. I have here a pair of soccer cleats I restored. The benefit of restoring shoes is because they are special editions like a Jordan 3 which came out in 2017 and won’t be re-released again until maybe 2020. They are collectors items and more valuable to restore. So if it’s a shoe that someone wears a lot, they bring it to me and I can make it look like it’s new again. I can tape up parts of the shoes to protect the black suede part of the shoe while I use acetone to clean and stripe the paint on the other parts and then repaint it. Some shoes, like the Yeezy by Kanye West made by Adidas, only have so many pairs that are made. I was lucky enough to get a pair but I re-sold them for $1500! The Business Program at TIA is actually how I got my idea for Project Kickz.” Dr. Hererra remembers when Cristian began his business Project Kickz. He found out there was a Young Entrepreneur’s Academy offered by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and it was there that he wrote a business plan. That’s when his business really took off.

TIA High School Business Class & YEA

Cristian says he was when he was in the TIA Business class during his junior year in high school, and came up with his idea for the project that became his business. In his senior year of high school (2017), he heard about the Young Entrepreneurs Academy (YEA) offered by the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce in Tucson, Arizona. There they really taught him how to run a business and the steps he needed to accomplish the goal of owning his own business. He had to create a full business plan, so he has a really thick binder with all the details of that plan. Another thing Cristian learned in YEA was to always be respectful of who you’re dealing with, even if the other person gets mad at you or even throws punches at you, to stay respectful because maybe you can help one another later on.

What is a Sneakerhead?

Cristian feels he can tell a lot about a person just by looking at their shoes; each person’s choice of shoes gives them their own personality. People love to express themselves through their shoes. That’s what Sneakerheads mostly do. Sneakerheads are people that love to collect shoes and everything about shoes. They are people who will go wait in line for a new shoe to drop or people that buy multiple pairs of shoes so that they wear one and stock one. To stock one means you would store a pair away to keep it in perfect condition. When Cristian customizes a shoe for someone, he is letting them express who they are and giving them a uniqueness because that’s really them. People will say, “Oh that’s a dope shoe! Where did you get that?” and they say, “Project Kickz!”

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TIA Grad Cristian Navaro Talks About Owning A Business

We Make Dreams to Attend College Come True!

We recently conducted an interview with TIA alumni, Victor Figueroa. Victor graduated from Tucson International Academy-Midvale in May of 2014. Victor’s dream to attend college has become a reality as he prepares to begin his second year at the University of Arizona. How many years did you attend TIA? I attended Tucson International Academy since 7th grade, so 6 years in total. Since I was one of the students that was there for a long time, I experienced the expansion of TIA Midvale which allowed me to be involved in the growth and changes. One of the changes I saw was that we went from having only two teachers teaching all the subjects to multiple teachers teaching various subjects. Have other members of your family attended college? In my immediate family no one has been able to pursue a higher education before, so I am the first generation to attend college. To which colleges did you apply and where did you end up deciding to attend college? When I was in high school I had a very vague idea of college. In my senior year at TIA,  thanks to the dual enrollment program they offered, I was able to take classes at Pima Community College. I knew that I wanted to attend and have the full college experience. However, I always thought that it was out of our family’s financial reach. I had heard terrible stories about students that go to college and obtain a degree, but then end up having so much loan debt that they cannot afford to live on their own. I did not want to end up drowning in debt, so I had to constantly evaluate my goals and my financial status to decide whether college was a viable choice for me. I decided to research schools that were close to home that offered generous scholarships. I found that our very own Northern Arizona University was on the list. Therefore, I decided to apply to NAU. The problem however is that I am a not a person that likes extremely cold weather or snow in the winter! So while I was happy that NAU accepted me with a very good scholarship, I was not sure that the Flagstaff weather was something I wanted to put up with for the next four years. However, I was relieved that the path to paying for college seemed brighter. I knew I wanted to stay in Arizona, so I also decided to apply to Arizona State University and University of Arizona. I received acceptance letters from both, although both colleges offered less aid than NAU. After weighing all the information, I chose to attend college at  University of Arizona. I chose U of A primarily because their computer science program rated higher than NAU and because I had already started an internship there. Did you do anything different to prepare the summer prior to starting college? Since my major is math intensive, I wanted to be more prepared for college level precalculus. Therefore, I decided to rent a trigonometry/precalc book and studied and worked on the questions in the book. Since I was doing an internship with the Center for Integrated Access Networks (CIAN) at the College of Optics, I asked my mentor whenever I had questions or concepts that I did not understand. By taking this initiative, once the semester started I was much more confident about my math skills. Can you remember your feeling the first few days of college? The first few days of college were challenging. I can still remember how out of place I felt coming from a small school into a student body of 35,000. At first I was so intimidated I felt like I may never fit in. However, I did not let that bring me down and kept striving. As each day passed I felt like I belonged there more and more. What have you found to be the biggest difference between high school and college? I would say that the biggest change between high school and college is the rigor of the work load and the freedom. In college there is no one setting up schedules for you or telling you where to go. Instead you have to decide on what’s best and manage your own time. The freedom that college allowed was a big change. While all that freedom is amazing, with bad judgment and or poor study and planning skills, it can become poison. It is ultimately up to the student if he or she wants to succeed. Tell us about where you are living. Are you living on campus? Since I chose a college that is close to home, I live off campus with my parents. However, from what I’ve learned, living on campus is a great way to meet new people and make new friends. What is your major? Minor? My major is Bachelors of Science in computer science. My minor  is Spanish. What have you found to be the most challenging part of college? What I have found most challenging about college is learning how to manage my time. Sometimes it feels as if there is no end to the amount of work needed to be completed. It gets even more stressful when there are multiple tests in one day. Thankfully, time management is a learnable skill and I have learned how to manage my time much better now. What is the best thing about attending college so far? The connections that you make and the material that you learn. While science and math are very challenging subjects, I also have the general education classes to cushion the rigor.  I like the fact that the options to learn whatever you want are limitless. Have you made a lot of new friends? Where did you meet most of them? College is about making connections; therefore, making friends is one exciting aspect that every student should look forward to. Most of my friends I have met through study groups and clubs. Clubs are a great way to make friends. How do you feel TIA best prepared you for college? I think that TIA really helped me prepare for college by offering the dual enrollment classes. Even though I only took 3 dual enrollment classes, it really helped me my first year and I had a pretty good idea of the rigor of college classes. I also think that the college and career fair helped me to ask questions and explore different career options and colleges. What final thoughts would you like to share with your friends back at TIA? I want to tell my fellow schoolmates back at TIA to work hard and don’t let anything make you quit. It is fine if you have no idea what you want to do or where you want to go, but don’t let your uncertainty hold you back from applying for internships, scholarships or colleges. I encourage every student to apply for as many scholarships as they can while they are still in high school no matter the award amount. They really do add up and help when you’re in college. I know I applied to over 50 scholarships while I was in high school and I only ended up getting 3, but those three scholarships put me through my first year of college without debt. I would also share with students that developing good work habits now will really help you to go a long way through college and beyond. Just keep being persistent! The journey to attend college may seem long and hard at times but before you realize it goals have been reached and it was all worth it! TIA makes dreams of college come true! Contact us today!
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What Is A Dual Credit Program- 5 Things You Should Know

Ever suffer from the “if onlys” when you missed out on something great? “If only I had studied a little more...” “If only I had saved the money I earned...” “If only I had asked that girl out...” Tucson International Academy, a Tucson Charter School,  has an opportunity you do not want to miss! Don’t end up being one who says,  “If only I had signed up for the dual credit program at TIA!”

What is the Dual Credit Program?

TIA, in partnership with Pima Community College, provides a dual enrollment program which allows students to earn up to 10 real college credits while still in high school. Students can attend the college level classes right on the TIA campus during their regular school day.The courses currently available are Reading 112, taught by Dr Jennifer Herrera (4 credits), Writing 101, taught by Mr. Lin Wu (3 credits) and Math 122 (Intermediate Algebra), taught by Mr. Young (3 credits).  Mr. Wu was also able to help 5 students who did well in the dual credit program to get merit scholarships at Pima. That means those students are getting two more years of college for free!

Is it really free?

Amazingly,  eligible students can earn up to 10 college credits in those three courses absolutely free! Just ask any college student drowning in student loans and you will fully understand the magnitude of this opportunity! Tuition alone for 10 college credits at Pima can run from about $650 to $1000! But what about books? Remarkably, TIA also covers the cost of all required books for each course!

Who is eligible to apply?

The program is for advanced TIA students in their junior and senior years. Students need to pass an entry exam to get into each course, and TIA provides transportation to the Pima College campus for the exams.

How long does it take?

Three classes are available. The reading course and the writing course can be taken in the fall semester and the math course is available during the spring semester. In order to complete all three classes, you should sign up by your junior year. You do not have to complete all three classes to be in the program.

How do I get started?

Mr.  Wu is the chairperson for TIA’s dual enrollment program. To get started, meet with him and he will assist you through the registration process. Mr. Wu is really excited about this program and he works tirelessly to help students who participate make huge strides toward college and beyond. Does TIA sound like the school for you? Enroll Here!  
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Last Weeks Graduation Ceremonies 2012

Last week’s graduation ceremonies were emotional events for many Tucson International Academy (TIA) students and families celebrating various milestones. For Kindergarten graduates, 5th graders moving up to middle school, 8th graders being promoted to high school, and seniors finishing their time at TIA, it was a moment to reflect on past achievements and contemplate future opportunities.

Seven Seniors Graduated!

Seven seniors graduated and gave speeches at their respective campuses. Two of them—Alejandro del Hierro and Christian Robles—received the Pima Merit Scholarship, a full two-year scholarship to Pima Community College awarded to the top eight percent of seniors in Pima County. At the East Campus, where no seniors graduated, 8th graders gave speeches, sharing what they liked about their school, teachers, and friends. Other featured speakers at the ceremonies included TIA Superintendent Dr. Herrera, affectionately known as “Dr. J”. She congratulated parents for helping their children succeed, and reiterated the school's commitment to guide each of them toward college. Terri Martinez of the University of Arizona spoke at the Broadway and West Campuses, adding her voice to Dr. J’s in encouraging all students—not just the seniors—to make college their goal after graduation. This year’s seniors are already tracking with that goal, all of them being accepted at Pima Community College and having applications in at the University of Arizona.

Awards Given

Graduation was also an occasion to confer several awards: Perfect Attendance, Chinese Student of the Year, Spanish Student of the Year, and Global Citizen. Criteria for the Chinese and Spanish Student of the Year includes grades and participation in class projects and school events such as the Language Fair, Cinco de Mayo, and Chinese New Year. The Global Citizen award is the highest honor bestowed by TIA, encompassing all the school’s philosophies and objectives. Teachers nominate students on the basis of their grades, participation in the classroom, social interaction with their peers, and travel they have done.

Family and Alumni Support All

Turnout was great at each event, according to Administrative Assistant Arlene Canez, who attended all four graduations. For her, the highlight was seeing how much support the kids had: “For each grade that was featured, the families came out in droves.” In addition to family, each campus also had a good showing of alumni who came back to encourage their graduating friends. And now the students can enjoy a well-deserved summer respite from the textbooks. But not for long, because there’s an exciting new chapter of learning ahead for everyone.
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