5522 Side Road Prescott, Az. 86301 928-777-0403

School History

Tri-City College Prep's motto is:

"TCP is a school dedicated to keeping standards high and helping students reach them."

Tri-City College Prep's Mission Statement

To provide a high academic curriculum in an alternative learning environment that addresses the individual needs of students and helps each student to achieve his/her maximum academic potential. 

This means...

Tri-City Prep High School provides a positive, safe learning and working environment for a diverse population of students and employees. This environment will challenge and prepare students academically to lead productive and responsible lives. Furthermore, we promote a college prep environment fostering academic, civic and ethical growth.

TCP operates in accordance with regulations pertaining to the operation of a public school in the State of Arizona.


The History Behind Tri-City College Prep High School

Tri-City College Prep High School (TCP) was founded on $2000 and a promise to a man shortly before he died. The man was Paul W. Bear and the promise was made by his granddaughter, Mary Ellen Halvorson. The promise was that she would do something with the $2000 that would make it grow. After a few years of hard work and lots of research she realized that there was no better investment for Paul’s $2000 than the education of children as that will continue to grow for lifetimes to come. The idea for the investment and use of the money came in early 1998 when Mary Ellen decided she wanted to start a school. The school she wanted to start would emphasize math and science while preparing students for college. This was an innovative idea because there was currently no school in the area that specialized in college preparation. More importantly she wanted her school to be free so anyone who wanted to benefit from what the school offered had the chance to do so. She applied for and received a charter from the state of Arizona.

From research and travel as far as Oxford University in Oxford, England Dr. Mary Ellen Halvorson learned that the best way to prepare students for college was to have them start taking actual college courses while still in high school. After further research she found that Graceland University in Lamoni, Iowa already had a program in place for high schools to offer college classes. The school partnered with Graceland University to offer true university credits to high school students right on the TCP campus. Since that time, Graceland University's program has discontinued but not the TCP pledge to a college prep education with dual enrollment course work.

TCP first opened its doors in 1999 and had its first graduating class in 2000. The school started on the Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University campus where the university graciously rented three buildings to the school. From there TCP and the money grew as promised to Paul Bear. Eventually in May of 2005 the school moved to its permanent location on Side Road in Prescott, AZ. As TCP grew so did the need for sports so the students as well as the staff raised money to build a GYM in 2008 that supports a wide range of sports including Basketball, Volleyball, and Archery. About the same time as the gym was being built some parents wanted a place for the students to play soccer at the school. A parent group, organized by the Larson family and with the help of a local church set out to make a field on which students could play soccer. Thanks to the support of staff, parents, students and the community the school has places to hold sports.

In 2019, TCP started the process to become Tri-City College Prep by adding 6th-8th grade to their charter. The TCP middle school focuses on a small classroom environment where individual learning is key. Students participate in the academic basics as well as culture, art, language, physical education and numerous clubs and activities. Students at the middle school are also competitive in the archery and mountain bike sports programs available to their age group. The preparation the middle school receives not only academically but with our school cultural and spirit helps them excel as they enter into our high school.

Today TCP has become known for its quality education focusing on college preparation and offering college credits from Yavapai College as well as alliances with places like MICTED, Prescott Contractors Association, and Grand Canyon University. The school’s excellence now includes award winning programs in all academic areas including a fine arts and humanities. Students who graduate from TCP are prepared for college, military, or careers because they receive top-notch academic advising and planning with access to more scholarship opportunities than others in our area. As per the promise made to Paul W. Bear the school is continuing to grow to make his original $2000 everlasting.