It was 1999, and Rebecca Moreno was wondering where to send her 5-year-old daughter, Sarah, to school.
"We went to some of the Catholic schools and some of the public schools," Moreno recalled last week, thinking back to the research she had conducted 13 years ago. "We didn't find what we were looking for."
What Moreno was seeking was a school where her daughter would be pushed to achieve, where she would be challenged, where she would receive individualized attention. And one day, she heard about a brand-new school, University Public School, being operated by the fledgling Aspire Public Schools organization.
Time marches on.
Sarah is 18 now, and on June 8 she was one of eight students from that first group of kindergartners to receive a high school diploma from Aspire's Benjamin Holt College Preparatory Academy in northeast Stockton. They are the first eight students to receive their entire K-12 educations, start to finish, through Aspire.
"I'm glad I stayed with it," said Sarah, who will attend the University of California, Berkeley. "I've grown up with these classmates. I've gotten into a really good school. I don't think I could have done it without them."