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Phoenix Vice Mayor Bill Gates and Starshine Academy staff perform a ribbon cutting as students look on. (KTAR Photo/Bob McClay)

PHOENIX -- Bagpipes, prayers and the releasing of white doves were all a part of a 9/11 remembrance ceremony at the grand opening of the Starshine Academy's new campus in Phoenix on Wednesday morning.

Founder Trish McCarty said the events of 9/11 inspired her to start Starshine to change the opportunities for kids in at-risk neighborhoods. McCarty thinks if one person in the world doesn't have a proper education, the entire world is at risk.

"Terrorism starts with someone being fearful," she said. "Fear is bred by people who don't understand how to get love or how to control their fear. To me, the best thing that we can do for anti-terrorism is to teach love, peace, community and service inside of schools."

Phoenix Vice Mayor Bill Gates attended Wednesday's ribbon cutting ceremony. He said having the grand opening on Sept. 11 is appropriate, because it should remind people that young kids who weren't around on that day need to learn about what happened and why.

"I think it's very important that we as parents take the time to explain to our kids what happened," he said. "One of the most important things we have to explain, especially to little children, is that they are safe. We now live in a safer world because of the tragedy that occurred."

The new campus is near 35th Street and McDowell Road. Among its features are a small farm with animals. It also has music and art programs, a field house with a basketball court and theater-ready stage and the latest in technology.

Some 500 students attend the holistic kindergarten through 12th grade school. It's one of three schools in the Starshine district, which began in 2002.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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