2016 May

YWLA’s first graduating class

Graduation for the class of 2016 takes place at 1 p.m. Sunday, June 5th, at Will Rogers Auditorium.

Congratulations to YWLA’s Class of 2016!

Madison Acuna-Taylor
Laura Anderson
Quianna Ard
Brinae Baston
Lauren Brandon
Alexus Brown
Ja’Monica Demar
Amani Gardner
Kimberly Guthrie
Sheran Hashaway
Stormi Hernandez
Shelby Johnson
Hannah Jones
Rayani Lee
Alyssa McClean
Sofia Muniz
Elle Munoz-Diaz
Sarah Elisabeth Odidika
Adriana Rodriguez
Alexandra Rojas
Margie Ruffin
Daniela Salazar Carranza
Destiny Shakir
Jasmine Smith
Sarah Smith
Dija Sparks
Jean Sumner
Anna Wane
Rochelle Whitfield
Kennedy Woodard
Alexis Woodard
Redmond Wortham

Foundation welcomes first Executive Director

Courtney Kimberling-Radcliffe

Courtney Kimberling Radcliffe

We are delighted to have Courtney Kimberling Radcliffe join us as the Foundation’s first Executive Director. She brings a combined 15 years of nonprofit experience in the areas of healthcare with the JPS Foundation, public broadcasting with KERA, and education with Southern Methodist University.

Courtney most recently volunteered with Italian students teaching English while her husband completed a work assignment for Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Company in Arona, Italy.

A native of Fort Worth, Courtney received her bachelor’s in Communication from Texas Wesleyan University and a masters degree from the University of North Texas Mayborn School of Journalism.

Jean Sumner receives first Cathy Hirt Leadership Award

Jean Sumner and her mother

Jean Sumner and her mother Shelia

The Cathy Hirt Leadership Award was presented to senior Jean Sumner at GEMS Rock! on March 4, 2016. Presented by Foundation Board Chair Debby Stein, the award is dedicated to the memory of Board Member and Past Chair, Cathy Hirt, who along with her husband Darrell, perished in a fatal car crash while traveling abroad.

Cathy was a dedicated leader and a passionate believer that youth should be given opportunities to prepare them to lead their communities in the future. As a Fort Worth City Councilmember, Cathy led the Fort Worth delegation of America’s Promise, a youth leadership initiative led by General Colin Powell. She served as chair of numerous boards and committees including TCU’s Bob Schieffer College of Communication Advisory Board, Catholic Charities, and Communities in Schools.

The award, accompanied by a $500 scholarship, was established to recognize an outstanding young leader at YWLA. Jean’s essay was chosen from more than a dozen submissions.

Recognized as a leader in her school and community, we congratulate Jean and wish her well as she begins her journey to obtain a nursing degree at Catholic University in Washington, D. C.

Thank you to board members Haily Summerford and Sharon Croxton for serving on the selection committee, and to all the girls who submitted many excellent essays.

Message from the Chair

It has been a year of extremes for the Foundation.  We began our fiscal year in September 2015, meeting new board members and excitedly discussing our plans to celebrate YWLA’s inaugural graduating Class of 2016.  In October we mourned the loss of our Board Chair, Cathy Hirt.

In honor of my dear friend and colleague, I accepted the nomination to complete Cathy’s term as Chair. For me, it has been a time of memories filled with sadness heightened by the hope and anticipation I see in the eyes of 32 young women who are about to travel on journeys that will forever change their lives. I look forward to celebrating the milestones still ahead for the senior class. These moments will forever live within me.

Please take a moment to reflect on the part you may have played in supporting these young women, and the many others who will follow in their footsteps.  Whether you are a teacher, a parent or a generous donor; your belief in the power of education has touched us all.

— Debby Stein, Chair
Foundation for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth


SENIOR SIGNING DAY is much like a celebratory sports signing day. For the Class of 2016, it’s another momentous occasion to be surrounded by family and friends. Each Senior, proudly sporting her college shirt under her blazer, will finally announce where she will attend college. The Foundation will present each girl with an authentic check to replace the representative check for the $250 college stipend each received at GEMS Rock!

SENIOR SIGNING DAY takes place Wednesday, May 25th, at Martin Hall on the campus of Texas Wesleyan University.

Explore the map below to see where the seniors are going!


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