For more news and articles about CFA Phoenix, please click here.

Artists & former students "Pay it forward"

Posted On: 2013-09-25

Submitted by Dee Ann Deaton, Sequoia Charter Schools PR Director
Thursday, September 19th, 2013, 12:59pm

This week, large scale mural artist, Roger Whiting, and his team of former Mountain Ridge High School students are transforming an 85-foot-long wall at Children First Academy new campus in Phoenix into a visual timeline of Arizona and the United States historic events.

The goal of the project is to provide current CFA students with a creative service learning opportunity that enhances the schools' learning environment through art that teaches and motivates. In addition to creating the mural, Whiting will be spending time instructing various classes and sharing his knowledge and positive enthusiasm about the arts with the students.

Children First Academy of Phoenix opened the doors of its new campus to students for the first time in late August of this year. Homeless youth in grades K-9 are brought to the school from a wide area of the valley for an educational experience tailored to their unique needs.

"Creating an educational environment that inspires is as much a part of the process as providing great teachers, medical care, clothing, food and many other services," says Douglas Pike, CEO of EdKey, Inc., which manages Children First Academy, "Children First Academy is excited to have Roger's mural on this unique campus where future leaders come to learn."

After weeks of research and design, Whiting came up with a visual timeline showing the triumphs of American culture, such as the Constitution, Emancipation, and Revolutionary War. The mural also depicts some of the Nations struggles, including; the War of 1812, the Great Depression and Pearl Harbor.

Whiting was previously an art teacher at Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, AZ. Immediately following his year at Mt. Ridge, Whiting moved to Utah where he started a family and quit public education to pursue a living as an artist.

Whiting's former Mt Ridge students: Marianne Rzemien, Alexander Chang, Tara Takemoto, Tony Baril, Chad Weintraut, Rubi Pinkston are part of the mural team. Michelle Campana Jonathan Caudle, Daria Timonina, Alexa Chrisbacher, Rachael Lyddon and Christopher Johnson are also assisting with the project.

To learn more about Roger Whiting's work visit To learn more about Children First Academy visit