Inspire Alumni Testimonials & Stories

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Since its inception in 2010
Inspire School of Arts & Sciences has provided students with the unique opportunity to explore and intensively learn in the areas of theatre, music, dance, visual arts, digital media arts, engineering, and science – unlike any other high school in the North State. This award-winning high school commits to preparing the greatest number of students possible within a small school environment for a successful transition to college, work, and life experiences that reflect a lifelong love of learning, a fearless approach to risk-taking, a healthy work ethic, and a passionate commitment to service.
Over ten years of Inspire students have walked through the campus and so many stay in touch, talk about how Inspire changed their lives, and have said that Inspire staff made them who they are today. Take a look at what they have to say…

Alisa Tousey

Class of 2015
Inspire was my happy place. Most people dread their high school years but for me, it was a time when I felt safe to dream big and push myself past my comfort zone. The teachers believe in the students and the students believe in the school. The passion is unmatched and produces talented artists, scientists, writers, and above all kind and compassionate individuals.
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Amanda Pasilis

Class of 2014
As a timid and shy middle schooler, you would be shocked to think I would make a bold move in high school. At Inspire they encouraged us to think outside the box and step outside our comfort zone. I took all sorts of classes; guitar, creative writing, fiber arts, songwriting, art, dance, geography, and more. I thrived in my science classes and found new passions. A new love of dance. I went to dance in a company for 6 years after that single Inspire dance class. I expressed myself freely and with guidance and support in my art classes. I made creations I never thought possible. I made new friends and strengthened older bonds. I was moved by the advice and voice of my advisor Mr. Pope. However, the biggest challenge came with my language class. A class centered on full Spanish immersion and conversation combined with presentations. Never did I fear the teacher calling on me more than I did in Spanish 1 my freshman year. My final presentation was quiet and lukewarm. I lacked confidence even though I excelled in that class. Tests and written work was no problem. Senor Isern wasn't pushy but yet gentle. Slowly forcing me to speak more in front of the class. Inspiring me with his teaching methods and stories. He cared about his students. That's how it is at Inspire. Eventually come my junior year I had found a new sense of self. My final presentation that year was confident and loud. It was passionate and well thought out. My fear of speaking in Spanish had diminished. Sr. Isern was proud too. His class gave me more self esteem going forth into college and life. Thank you Inspire. You nurture stronger human beings. 
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Andrea Azevedo

Class of 2012
Danielle Alexich was the English and Creative Writing teacher when I attended Inspire. Looking back, she had the biggest impact on my life. Not only was she an amazing person but a great teacher. I never liked reading OR writing until taking classes with her. She made things interesting in a way no other English teacher had. I went on to college loving reading and especially writing, which led me to a major in Communication studies.  It’s hard to pick one favorite part of Inspire, but I would say the connections teachers created. You really could tell they wanted students to succeed. They would go out of their way to help a student and that is something you don’t often see at other schools. Inspire definitely prepared me for life after high school. I came out of high school a well rounded person who could juggle getting good grades, being in musicals, and having fun whilst creating connections. Students at Inspire have a lot on their plates and learning how to do that in high school sets you up for an easier transition into college and a career.
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Anna Lenaker

Class of 2015
It has been over five years since I graduated from Inspire. Since graduating, I obtained both my bachelor’s in religious studies and my master’s in public affairs from Brown University. I’ve traveled to ten different countries on three different continents. I spent a year of undergrad studying abroad at Oxford where I spent countless hours studying monastic-like in library enclaves and exploring the alleyways that inspired C.S. Lewis, J.R.R. Tolkein, and Lewis Carroll. I’ve practiced Zen Buddhism in monasteries throughout Japan, marveled at giraffes and elephants as they stroll across the plains of Kenya, and worked in a skyscraper in Manhattan. I am unbelievably blessed to have had all of these opportunities. Especially to have had them as a first-generation and low-income student. I credit Inspire for building in me the confidence that I can do the improbable, for teaching me that failure is only possible when one refuses to try again, and for showing me that a caring community is an important part of learning and growth. In these exciting years of change and of travel, I have found myself missing Inspire. More particularly, the sense of community I felt while a student there. Inspire is undeniably special. I learned many things, both from my peers and my teachers, that I carry with me each day. While a student, I often found myself humbled by the sheer diversity of talent that surrounded me. I was also humbled by the fact that I owed much of my success and my inspiration to the community of friends––both peers and teachers––who supported, helped, and encouraged me as I struggled through APUSH, memorized derivatives for Calculus, sought to qualify as a mediocre ceramics student, and applied to colleges. Inspire, to me, is special because it constitutes a community whose ethos is one of mutual support, collaboration, and concern. Inspire is a place that encourages and embraces a diversity of expression: artistic, scientific, funky, fun, poetic, musical…the list could go on. My experiences at Inspire have dictated how I have sought to build a sense of community while away from home and will dictate how I hope to build community in the future. Going to Inspire never felt like a chore nor a requirement, but, rather, a privilege and a joy. Anna Lenaker has written a book titled "Able To Be Otherwise" [button link="" color="purple" newwindow="yes"] PURCHASE ANNA'S BOOK[/button]
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Ben Anderson

Class of 2016
A teacher who made a tremendously positive impact on my life was Mr. Hopkins. He taught English and was my advisor as well. I still talk about literature and plays with him whenever I visit.  My favorite part of Inspire were the performance opportunities. I took advantage of all the opportunities I got to be on stage and it worked out well for me.  Inspire definitely prepared me for my particular career path. I was ready for the expectations of a conservatory style training after high school, and every job I get builds on the last one all the way back to “White Christmas” at Inspire in 2013.
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Beyoncee Saetern

Class of 2019
Inspire is home to some of the most dedicated, funny, and loving teachers I have ever come across. It jump-started my passion to create and solve problems, while showing me that I can enjoy things outside of engineering, like the arts. Inspire was a pivotal point in my life, and it has led me to where I am today. As a first-gen student, I've continued my studies at UC Davis, and am now pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering.
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Real graduates. Real rockstars.

Emily Teague

Photographer, Educator, Ambassador at SmugMug
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Oliver Moore

Award Winning Pianist, Composer
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Kat Burchett

Actor, Model, Disney Staff
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