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Former students, now teachers

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Posted: Saturday, July 28, 2012 6:45 pm

Like mothers like daughters.

Two Horizon Community Learning Center alumni are entering their first year as teachers at their former school, and it seems to run in both of their families.

Abby Cardenas and Ann Shaheen will become the second generation to teach at the Ahwatukee Foothills charter school.

Shaheen started during the first year Horizon opened its doors and her mom, as a teacher, did too.

She graduated with her master’s degree from Northern Arizona University in 2010 and will be teaching social studies, English and drama at Horizon Honors High School.

“If I was going to get a teaching job, it had to be at Horizon,” Shaheen said. “It is such a unique environment.”

Cardenas, who will be teaching fifth- and sixth-grade language arts, and whose mom was also a teacher, graduated from NAU and this will be her first teaching job.

“You don’t see the quality of teachers elsewhere and I want to be a part of that,” Cardenas said. “I want to be able to inspire my students like my teachers inspired me.”

The first day of school is Monday, July 30, and they are both working to prepare for the first day.

“There’s always an energy and excitement on the first day of school,” Shaheen said.

And while they both said that they are focused on the first week, it is a testament to Horizon’s philosophy of teaching.

“We want students to drive the curriculum,” Cardenas said. “Our goals are to see what students need and help them get there. Our focus is that this is a community and in every class, we want them to feel like they are at home.”

Added Shaheen, “my objectives are planned for the whole year but I am prepared for a unique situation and knowing what these students need to be successful.”

Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or

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