Two months ago, you joined us in celebrating nine Aspire graduating seniors at our Shining Stars luncheon.  We loved seeing the room teeming with friends and supporters as we applauded the exceptional work of our Shining Stars.  While we aren't gathered together physically now, we hope you'll join us in celebrating some of the continued successes at Aspire.

In June, 528 Aspire seniors walked across the stage to collect their diplomas. Every single one of them has been accepted to a four-year college, continuing eight years of 100% college acceptance.  In the fall, Aspire alumni will continue their pursuit of College for Certain at Stanford, UCLA, UC Berkeley, Loyola Marymount, and Cal State Chico, to name a few.  Among them will be two Gates Millenium Scholars, one Coca-Cola Scholar, one PG&E Better Together STEM Scholar, and one Dell Scholar. The Stockton Record recognized Rudy Gallegos, who you may recognize as one of our Shining Stars, for his selection as a Gates Millenium Scholar.

Our students enter college prepared to tackle challenges both academic and otherwise.  As a result of our Early College High School Program, where every Aspire high school student takes college courses, five seniors at Aspire Langston Hughes in Stockton graduated not only with their high school diplomas, but also with two Associate's Degrees each from San Joaquin Delta College.

Once in college, Aspire alumni continue to shine.  This year, the Don Shalvey Changing the Odds Award, given annually to Aspire alumni who are first generation college graduates, have shown tenacity in the pursuit of their college degree, and are giving back to their community, was presented to Xavier Taylor, 2012 graduate of Aspire Cal Prep, 2016 graduate of St. Mary's College, and soon-to-be instructional aide at Aspire Cal Prep, and Shane Hoang, 2012 graduate of Aspire Ben Holt, 2016 graduate of UC Davis, and current Ph.D. candidate in Bioengineering at UC Riverside.  Xavier and Shane are the faces of Aspire. They credit overcoming the odds to the support of their teachers and the Aspire community, and to being held to the highest expectations. Enjoy this video that follows Xavier and Shane on their journey to College for Certain.

As our students continue to impress and inspire, our teachers relentlessly pave the road to College for Certain. This year, under the leadership of long-time Aspire staff member Heather Kirkpatrick, our acclaimed Aspire Teacher and Principal Residency programs will spin off as Aspire University.  The New York Times recently recognized the tremendous impact on teacher and principal training from Aspire University.

Aspire has had a positive effect on the lives of tens of thousands of students. But we can do more.  This summer, we will open two new schools, allowing us to serve an even greater number of students in low-income communities. In Memphis, we will open Aspire East Academy, serving 120 students in kindergarten and 1st grade. Our Memphis Area Superintendent, Allison Leslie, recently shared about opening our fourth Memphis school on Local Memphis Live. In Stockton, we will open Aspire Ben Holt Middle School, serving 440 students in grades 6-8.

With the addition of these two schools, Aspire will serve almost 16,000 students in 40 small, high-performing charter schools in low-income neighborhoods. 
The reach and success of our mission of College for Certain would not be possible without you.  The stories and triumphs of students like Rudy Gallegos, Xavier Taylor, and Shane Hoang would not be possible without you. Together, we are changing the odds.


Bess Kennedy
Vice President of Advancement 
1001 22nd Avenue | Oakland, CA 94606
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