The acronym for ASPIRE is a mouthful, but two students told Douglas County School Board members that it encapsulated their feelings about the alternative high school.
Yoana Gutierrez and Cassie Warren spoke about how All Students Pursuing Integrity, Responsibility and Education was contributing to their lives.
On Tuesday, Douglas County School Board trustees voted to keep the school’s name ASPIRE Academy High School, and accepted a $200,000 donation from Carson Valley Inn owner Mike Pegram.
Yoana, a senior, told school board members that she earned her ASPIRE sweat shirt by following the rules and following all the pillars.
“At the end of the semester, they announce who earned their sweatshirts, and it pushes those who didn’t get one to work harder,” she said.
ASPIRE Principal Miki Trujillo said Pegram approached her about a donation.
“He came to us wanting to make the donation,” Trujillo said.
Steve Chappell, who appeared at the school board on behalf of Pegram, accepted the board’s thanks.
“He told me he really loves the kids and wants to see them succeed,” Chappell said.
“Thank you,” Yoana told Chappell. “I can’t express how much this school means to me. I call it my home.”
Chappell said Pegram had been looking for a program in Douglas County that could use his help.
But while the school has a name and money to move, negotiations officials are still working on a new home.
The school will have to move from its current location in June, and District Superintendent Lisa Noonan said she’s talking to Western Nevada College about using the Minden Campus during the day.
She said the two sides are close to an agreement.
“Their leadership is excited by the possibilities of an agreement,” she said.
The proposal is for ASPIRE to attend school until 2 p.m. and then turn it over to the college for night classes.
Noonan said she’d exhausted efforts to lease private space for the school. ASPIRE would have to move to one of the schools
Leasing the college would cost the district $106,800 a year plus an additional $30,000 a year for transportation to and from the school.
The lease is similar in amount to what the district is paying for its current space on Water Street.
Noonan said she hopes that ASPIRE will be at the college for a long time.