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Queen Creek fifth grader Campbell Faulkner was the guest of honor at a ribbon-cutting to celebrate the grand opening of Arizona Virtual Academy (AZVA) and Insight Academy of Arizona’s (ISAZ) Queen Creek Blended Learning Center (QCBLC) on Thursday, Nov. 3.

The whole nation is now familiar with the 10-year-old as the inspiration behind Chicago Cubs’ slugger Kyle Schwarber’s green wristband. Campbell suffers from a rare mitochondrial disease that makes it difficult for him to walk or stand for extended periods of time. The green wristband – which signifies that Schwarber is a member of “Campbell’s Crew” – came into the national spotlight during a press conference following Game 2 of the World Series last Wednesday night.

Schwarber, who missed the entire season with a knee injury, became one of the biggest stories in sports when he returned for the World Series and hit .412 with seven hits in 17 at-bats and had two RBIs to help the Cubs win their first World Series title since 1908.

At the grand opening of QCBLC, Campbell’s parents spoke of his special friendship with Schwarber and how online learning has helped his journey in dealing with his medical needs.

“This is an outstanding form of learning for Campbell and thousands of other students who deal with serious disabilities on a daily basis,” said Campbell’s mother, Carrie Faulkner. “Since Campbell began at AZVA, he hasn’t missed a day of school. He loves his teachers and can’t wait to log-on every day and learn.”

QCBLC is AZVA and ISAZ’s third blended learning center. It will serve as an onsite facility for additional learning for more than 4,500 students across Arizona who are already benefitting from the online curriculum that AZVA and ISAZ offer.

The center will serve students in grades 4-12 and is available to students enrolled at AZVA or ISAZ, which are both tuition-free online public schools.

“Blended learning centers provide the best of online and face-to-face instruction,” said Kelly Van Sande, head of school at AZVA and ISAZ. “We are excited to open this new facility to serve even more Arizona students.”

QCBLC has been available to AZVA and ISAZ students previously; the new facility features a ‘Makerspace’ for science labs during the academic day and for science, technology, engineering, arts and math (STEAM) clubs after school.

“This is an exciting moment for the Queen Creek community,” said Banjjan Judge, blended learning community and marketing administrator. “We’re thrilled to provide our community with more support and opportunities for learning. The fact that Campbell’s family was able to attend means the world and demonstrates how connected and committed our families are to these schools.”

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