Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison Visits YWCPA at Grand Opening Ceremony

Legislation she helped pass almost 10 years ago paved the way for this and other single-sex academies
September 30, 2011
Students at HISD’s Young Women’s College Preparatory Academy took a break from classes on September 28 to take part in the school’s official grand opening celebration.

The single-gender academy opened in August with sixth- and ninth-grade students only, but subsequent grades will be added each year. The all-girls college preparatory academy is the first of its kind in HISD and is designed to prepare students for higher education and to be future leaders. It joins the Young Men’s College Preparatory Academy, which also opened this school year.

“I want you all to look at the young ladies in this room,” said Principal Delesa O’Dell Thomas. “You are looking at future scientists, engineers, doctors, and perhaps even the next U.S. senator or president.”

Joining in the grand opening celebration were HISD Board of Education President Paula Harris and Second Vice President Anna Eastman, whose daughters attend the academy, and U.S. Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison. Hutchison was instrumental in passing legislation nearly a decade ago allowing the formation of single-gender schools.

“When I passed the amendment to allow single-sex education in our public schools, this is what I hoped would happen,” said Hutchison. “I am very, very excited that we now have six in Texas and I think it is just magnificent what Houston is doing.”

YWCPA opened this year with the support of the Foundation for the Education of Young Women (FEYW). The nonprofit group put forth $1 million to help get the school off the ground. “We are very pleased with the overwhelming support of the district, the board, the superintendent, the campus staff, and the community,” said FEYW Director Carmyn Neely. “We believe this is a very wise investment.”

Girls at YWCPA wear uniforms, have their own Mac Book Pro computers, and are exposed to a rigorous Advanced Placement curriculum. They also will attend educational summer camps and take numerous trips to tour local, state, and national colleges.

Response to the school’s opening has been positive and Principal Thomas says she already has numerous application inquires for next year. “We look forward to the coming years,” said Thomas. “Great things are happing at YWCPA, so keep your eyes on us.”