Redmond Wortham, a member of the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth’s first graduating class in 2016, became the first YWLA alumna to earn a college degree. Wortham earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from Texas A&M University in just three years — effectively bringing full circle the mission of both YWLA and its Foundation.
Wortham chose YWLA because of the unique opportunities it offers beyond classroom instruction. “I never thought an all-girls school was in the plan until a teacher told me about the hands-on learning and college bound advising at YWLA,” Wortham said in an interview. “I’m thankful for all the support and unique opportunities YWLA offered me.”
Since she was a child, Wortham has dreamed of becoming a judge. To that end, she has interned at the Tarrant County Administration Office for the past two summers and continues to work there after graduation. Now that Wortham has earned her bachelor’s degree, as well as minors in history and communication, Wortham plans to apply to law school for fall 2020. With the assistance of Foundation’s alumnae support program, Wortham will soon take the LSAT.
“We’re incredibly proud of Redmond and all she’s accomplished since graduating from YWLA just three short years ago,” said Courtney Radcliffe, Executive Director of the Foundation for YWLA. “This isn’t the end of the Foundation’s involvement in Redmond’s future; it’s a new beginning. Even now that she’s graduated college, we will be here for Redmond, supporting her in her future academic and career pursuits. We don’t just invest in the students of YWLA so they attend college; we invest in them for the women they will become.”
YWLA was made possible through a public-private partnership between Fort Worth ISD and Young Women’s Preparatory Network (YWPN) in 2010. The first and only all-girls public school in Fort Worth ISD, YWLA focuses on STEM and visual arts and provides a rigorous college-preparatory education to its 6th-12th grade students.
Beyond its educational mission, YWLA empowers young women from typically lower socioeconomic backgrounds to excel in traditionally male-dominated fields. 77% of the school’s students qualify for free-and-reduced lunch.
In 2014, the Foundation for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth was formed as a 501(c)3 to financially support and secure resources for YWLA, as well as offer leadership opportunities to the school’s students, teachers and staff, to enhance academic achievement and promote the success of every student in college, career and life.
Clearly, the mission is working. Each of YWLA’s four graduating classes, 2016–2019, has achieved 100 percent acceptance to a four-year college or university. And now, blazing her own trail, Wortham has become the first of her peers to graduate from college.
The Foundation doesn’t just support YWLA’s current students. Through grants and corporate partnerships, the Foundation expanded its mission to include supporting the 133 YWLA alumnae currently in college by providing gap funding, hosting networking events and facilitating internship and job shadowing opportunities with local businesses.
The Foundation continues to provide YWLA students, teachers, staff and alumnae academic and leadership resources and opportunities — all to serve our mission of educating and empowering young women to have a voice and be leaders in their communities.