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Who We Are

Our History

OVER A CENTURY OF EDUCATION:1920-2024

Once located in the middle of the desert many miles from town, Thunderbird Adventist Academy is now an oasis of green grass and citrus trees in the middle of Scottsdale, Arizona. Scottsdale is an upscale suburb of Phoenix—the nation’s fifth largest city—and is known for its unlimited shopping opportunities, challenging golf courses, family-friendly parks, and fantastic restaurants in the desert Southwest.

Originally named Arizona Academy, the school began in 1920 when six acres of land were purchased northeast of Phoenix. That summer, two dormitories were constructed with space for classrooms in the basements and first floors of these buildings. 

In 1953, the Arizona Conference of Seventh-day Adventist Church purchased the Thunderbird Army Air Base Number Two from the  U.S. government. The school was relocated to the former airbase on nearly 800 acres of land and renamed Thunderbird Academy. Classes, student and staff housing and all other activities were originally held in the barracks and hangers left behind by the army. 

Over the years, new classrooms, the administration building, two dormitories, and a cafeteria were built. In the 1970's, most of the old army buildings were torn down or repurposed to make way for our growing school.  A thriving industrial arts program employed students until the early 2000s when the furniture factory, laundry, and packaging business were sold. In addition, the name was changed once again, adding “Adventist” to the name to help clarify the school’s identity.

Today, Thunderbird Adventist Academy boasts a diverse student population and offers a broad academic program. This includes dual-credit classes, allowing students to earn college credit, as well as music classes, a ground school for flight, CNA, and photography and videography classes. Students also have the opportunity to participate in the National Honor Society, Campus Ministries, the Student Association (student government), and an after-school athletic program. 

Interested in learning more? Give us a call (480) 940-3300 and schedule a campus tour today! 

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