Last August 12th, 2014 Trish McCarty, creator and founder of the international non-profit StarShine Academy, presented StarShine’s 15 Guiding Principles to a group of about 35 Puerto Peñasco educational leaders, made up of teachers and principals from several of the 13 schools who benefit from fundraising efforts of Adopt-a-Classroom, the local non-profit founded by residents Mark and Barb Olszewski 15 years ago.

Proving how powerful the forward thinking concepts of StarShine Academy’s award-winning educational principles really are, Trish conducted the August seminar using only collateral materials printed in English and Frank Bercovich as the volunteer translator who works outside the education arena, yet the impact of that initial seminar on these leaders was immediate and all-inclusive. It was clear that everyone in attendance that afternoon in August was excited about the chance to introduce this new paradigm in teaching to their own schools.

Even our very active Mayor’s wife, First Lady Rafaela Félix de Figueroa, after hearing a briefing on the StarShine innovations, was intrigued enough to attend the entire session in August. She, like all the educators, left the seminar with a full understanding of the value of StarShine principles to the school system in Puerto Peñasco. The teachers and administrators in attendance shared an urgency that was hard to identify at first.

SAMSUNG CSC Partly based on the positive response she was feeling throughout the seminar, Trish promised to return and conduct a fully certified training course, with training materials translated into Spanish. Trish was a bit more than excited to see such obvious understanding and interest by the teachers. She left in August motivated to fulfill her promise and create a complete training program in Spanish for her return.

True to her word and her passion for growing the StarShine system, Trish returned to Puerto Peñasco the 2nd week of March for the certification training session. 12 invited educational leaders coordinated by Barb met on Saturday March 14th and became the first certified StarShine Academy trainers to take this concept into the Puerto Peñasco school system.

However, before Trish could get back to Puerto Peñasco with the translated training materials she had promised, the impact of her first introduction of the award-winning educational principles of StarShine Academy had already carried over into the individual schools. So well understood by the teachers from that initial seminar, they were able to relay the highlights and other meaningful aspects of the Academy’s unique learning methods to the students who also seemed to “get it” and soon were using the principles.

In the photos, taken by our own Mark Olszewski, during their visit to one of Barb’s Adopt-a-Classroom schools on March 13, Trish appears pleasantly surprised when she saw that the StarShine Principles had already been introduced to the students, and that the students were using them! She saw children in small groups actually teaching each other, sharing their knowledge. Trish also witnessed teachers teaching the school principals aspects of the StarShine Academic processes and how they would fit nicely into the current curriculum to expand the learning ability of students as well as raise the quality of subject matter at each stage of their development. In addition to the 12 teachers who were trained at the Saturday session, there are at least 60 more from five other schools waiting to be trained in near future sessions.

There is a clear message here as to the compatibility and education friendliness of the StarShine Principles. Trish’s plans are to take timely advantage of this enthusiasm and to integrate it into the higher goal of eradicating illiteracy worldwide, which means, as Trish explains, “the children of Puerto Peñasco will be helping Phoenix StarShine students in the development and testing of literacy tools for the Global Learning XPRIZE Challenge to help bring literacy to all children in the world!” (See more details below)

Of course, the fact the StarShine system has been proven in countries as diverse as South Sudan, Africa as well as in Santa Fe and Phoenix in the U.S. lends further credence to the bright future of this game-changing new way of communication in the K-12 school curriculum.

Trish McCarty was accompanied on this trip by Dr. Byron Davies, StarShine Systems Design Leader, Lynne Ericksson, StarShine Historian and Photographer and Trish’s husband, Steve McCarty, Honorary Chair, Music Department and an accomplished Gold Album recording artist and hit song writer in his own right.

Because the 4th principle of StarShine’s 15 Guiding Principles states that “Music is the first language,” Steve has been instrumental in formulating the school-wide program to recognize and develop musical talent as part of the uniqueness of each student.

Since its inception in 2002, StarShine has believed that a holistic approach to education is the best way to teach a child and ultimately improve the world. StarShine principles are based on the belief that nobody knows everything; that a person only knows what he knows, and therefore, every teacher is a student and every student is a teacher. The 15 Guiding Principles (which, because of their critical importance, are reproduced below in their entirety) are the philosophical fountain from which the StarShine Academy curriculum is designed and is credited with earning so many international scholastic, educational and peace-oriented awards, among which include: Arizona Department of Education Spotlight on Success Award- Superintendent Tom Horne presented STARSHINE ACADEMY with this prestigious award for innovative implementation of Individualized Learning Plans for High School Students; STARSHINE ACADEMY was chosen to host the 8th, 9th and 10th Annual United Nations North American Peace Pals Art Competition and Exhibition; Arizona Interfaith Movement Golden Rule Award for Top Educator honored Patricia McCarty; United Nations named STARSHINE ACADEMY one of the best examples of World Peace; Patricia McCarty was named HUMANITARIAN OF THE YEAR at the Los Angeles Music Awards for the Academy’s mission to provide and excellent education to at-risk students while supporting the community as well.

Here are those all-important StarShine 15 Guiding Principles:

Forward: The StarShine Academy Guiding Principles are the foundation of everything we do, teach and stand for at StarShine Academy. Living the Principles demonstrates the best understanding of them, and is a requirement for all affiliated with the school.

Every person born is unique and perfect and on their own road to discovering their dreams and highest calling.

We are on the planet to help one another toward achieving individual goals for the Greater Good of All.

We each do the best that we can on each day, depending on what we know and understand, according to Maslow’s Hierarchy.

Music is the first language.

Beautiful, safe environments that are clean and include art, music and nature inspire creativity and help to secure man’s sustainability.

Teaching and learning gardening is a necessary part of becoming one with nature and the environment and is a means for personal health and community building.

Celebrating local culture and global diversity allows for a rich life.

Practice Connect versus Convince; Exercise Compassion versus Judgment, Love versus Fear.

Individuals practice being ambassadors for their own country as well as a country other than their own.

Co-learning demonstrates that every person is a teacher and every teacher is a student.

Financial literacy fosters hope, belief and abundance as it facilitates a wise use of assets.

Partnering and mentoring fosters interdependence toward building common ground, as in “the world agrees on time so everyone can communicate.”

Holistic explains that each event reinforces all. The pursuit of success and happiness, both individually and collectively, must include body, mind, spirit, health and wealth.

Leveraging technology facilitates connecting people; personal contact is vital.

World peace is a result of individual peace.

You can read more about StarShine in our blog at; or go to and for a truly fascinating read visit

You can always check our Sonoran Resorts Blog for updates on this worldwide effort to bring education into the 21st century. As Trish puts it so well, “using our 15 Guiding Principles to create educational innovations that build more than great students, they build great people wanting to spend their lives learning, changing and improving.”

Each teacher who was certified as a StarShine Trainer on the 14th of March is part of the “Core Group” and has eagerly committed to share their training knowledge with two other teachers. After certifying the two new trainers, the three of them will begin teaching the StarShine Principles to 10 students. Progress will be monitored using various state-of–the-art methods that were reviewed with the Core Group. Trish, as well as the local leaders believe that May will be a good time to conduct a follow up training for some of the more than 60 teachers looking forward to learning these life-changing principles and to share them with their students.

StarShine’s overwhelming acceptance and success within the Puerto Peñasco educational ranks doesn’t stop at the shores of the Vermilion Sea. Their recognition as a global force destined to eradicate illiteracy around the world has lead to personal meetings with the most influential educational forward thinkers on our planet. In fact, on September 25th of 2014, coinciding with the launch of her latest book, “Transform,” while in Los Angeles, Trish had the privilege of meeting with Dr. Peter Diamandis, Chairman and CEO of the XPRIZE Foundation, the famed organization that puts up millions of dollars for those who can make the impossible possible, and with amazing success considering the challenges they have tackled. He wrote the book, “Abundance, The World is Better than You Think.” He has led X-Prizes to produce the first private spaceflight, 100 MPG cars, oil clean-up technology and most recently, competitions to go back to the moon, address ocean acidification and revolutionize healthcare. Peter’s lofty goal is to solve every world problem in his lifetime.

Peter feels his most important XPRIZE to date is the current Grand Challenge, Global Learning XPRIZE, launched last September. This is a $15 million competition to create Open Source software that will teach the 250 million illiterate kids in the world today to read, write and perform basic arithmetic within18 months without the aid of a teacher. This is not designed to replace teachers, but to provide an educational solution where little or none exist.

“We will never build enough schools or train enough teachers to meet demand, which brings us to a pivotal moment where an alternative, radical approach is needed,” believes Dr. Diamandis

The 15 Guiding Principles of StarShine Academy and their successes in the field were noticed by Dr. Diamandis who invited Trish and StarShine to enter the competition using their successful field experience as a basis for the open source software.

Bottom line here is that the timing of the Grand Challenge, Global Learning XPRIZE is now a part of the immediate future and challenge of StarShine Academy.

But that’s not all. Here is a chance for you, and all of us, to help change the world from the children on up by joining the support team of StarShine Academy and help them create a viable solution to what could rapidly become a true crisis on our planet. All you have to do is follow these links to learn how you can become a part of the solution: First, go here:; Then to; Then to At this point, you should be well versed on the importance of this undertaking, and, we hope, motivated to do what you can about the solution—even if it is to just subscribe to the email updates and help spread the word. A lot is going be happening in the next 18 months, both here in our little slice of paradise by the sea and around the world. And it’s all for the kids!

This article is brought to you by the Sonoran Resorts Sales Group,, Jim Ringquist, Director of Sales and Marketing.