Al-Arqam Islamic School had been open a month when Areeba Siddiqui began first grade there in 1998.
As the south Sacramento school prepares to celebrate its 10th anniversary, Al-Arqam remains the only school Siddiqui has known.
Now a sophomore in Al-Arqam's college preparatory program, the straight-A student plans to spend another two years at the private campus until she receives her high school diploma.
"I'm really attached to this school," Siddiqui, 15, a Sacramento native, said last week. "The atmosphere is very comfortable, very friendly."
At 6 p.m. Saturday, Siddiqui will speak about her affection for the school during Al-Arqam's 10th anniversary dinner at the Lions Gate Hotel in McClellan Park. Her speech will be entirely in Arabic, with English translation. The event, showcasing the school's achievements, will include presentations by other students along with remarks by school administrators and faculty.
The school, which is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, has a 32-member faculty. For its first two years, the school was housed in a small building on the grounds of the Muslim Mosque Association at 411 V St. in downtown Sacramento.
On the first day, the school had about eight students in kindergarten through third grade, Vice Principal Dalia Wardany said.
Today, it has nearly 300 in pre-kindergarten to 10th grade in its new address, at 6990 65th St. The school has occupied part of the Masjid Annur Islamic Center, north of Florin Road, for the past eight years. During its first decade, a new grade was added almost each year, so that students could continue their studies without changing schools.
"We teach a standard academic curriculum that is similar to what you would find in any other public or faith-based school" in California, Wardany said.