“Last year when the pandemic hit and my daughter began online school from home, I began to notice things that concerned me.”
Dino Cantarini’s daughter, Allie, was in a local charter school for grades three to five, and there had never been a problem. Her teachers said she was doing well, and her report card corroborated their praise. However, when Allie began remote learning in 2020, she didn’t seem to be doing as well as Dino had believed. For example, though Allie had learned her multiplication tables in second grade, she was now unable to complete simple equations without a calculator.
“I began questioning whether she was really in the best school for her,” Dino recalled.
So he began looking for other options. Through a mutual friend, the Cantarinis got an interview with Luis Ortiz, principal at Murrieta Springs Adventist Christian Academy (MSACA).
As non-denominational Christians, the Cantarinis had only a basic understanding of the beliefs of Seventh-day Adventists, so they did their homework. Dino called some close pastor friends and asked what they knew.
“They told me, ‘The Adventists are good people; you’re on the right track,’” he said. “So we got her enrolled for sixth grade.”
Though Allie struggled to catch up in math, Dino said the teacher wasn’t worried and worked with Allie and her parents to get her settled and confident. Her grades came up with each progress report until, a few months into the year, Allie had an A in math again.
“I’m extremely pleased,” Dino said warmly. “With such a small class size, the teachers can do individual tutoring with the kids. Allie has friends in all grade levels, and she’s really enjoying it.”
In particular, Allie appreciates her teacher, Mrs. Palitang, and the opportunity to take an art class.
“I’ve always loved painting and drawing,” she said, adding that she finds MSACA to be a very friendly school, too. “If I had to describe my school in two words, I’d say ‘friendly learning.’”
Allie’s experience is exactly what MSACA strives for with every student who walks through their doors.
“We want each student here to sense that they are loved and valued, and that God loves them and has a plan for them,” Ortiz said. “I’m delighted that Allie has been thriving at our school, and I know there are other students out there who would truly be blessed to have that same experience.”
Dino admits they are seriously considering Adventist education for Allie’s high school years, as well. Though the nearest school is a fair distance from their home, he says he would make the effort to drive her there for the value it would bring to her education.
“I’m so happy Allie is at MSACA,” he reiterated. “I know it is the best place for her to be.”
By Becky St. Clair