YWLA May 2020 Happenings

Here’s how you can get involved.

Below is a timeline of happenings at YWLA in May 2020, as well as some ways you can get involved. We will update this webpage as more details come. 

[Updated as of June 1, 2020]

YWLA Virtual Graduation

Sat., June 20 • 5 pm

YWLA’s virtual graduation ceremony will take place at 5 pm on June 20. Per FWISD’s website, “The following week students may also choose to participate in outdoor ‘in-person’ celebrations, following recently-issued TEA guidelines for such ceremonies.” YWLA’s voluntary in-person celebration will be held on Tues., June 23 at 7 pm at Farrington Field.

See complete details about all Fort Worth ISD graduations on their website: www.fwisd.org/graduation.

Past Events

Senior Caravan

The school hosted a parade last Friday, May 8 for the seniors. The class of 2020 caravanned with their families in decorated cars, led by senior sponsor teacher Scott Springs. Thanks to everyone who came out and made it special for our senior class of 2020!

Board Meeting

We held our final board meeting of the academic year via Zoom on Thursday, May 21.

Signing Day 2020 Virtual Celebration

The school released a congratulatory video for the seniors on May 27, in which the class of 2020 revealed their college selections. The video is on YWLA’s YouTube channel.

Dallas Mavericks Surprise

The class of 2020 participated in a Zoom call on Thursday, May 28 with Dallas Mavericks’s CEO, Cynt Marshall. The call was hosted by YWPN as a commencement celebration where Deborah Ferguson moderated.

The next morning, May 29, in tandem with the Dallas Mavs call, the senior class picked up their goodies from the Mavs at YWLA using social distancing. The girls received baskets of college swag, gift cards, and laptops. Take a look at coverage of the event here.

FemCare Drive

Elyse Stolz Dickerson, Founder and CEO of Eosera and friend of YWLA, collected feminine care products for our students and those in a program called Breakthrough Fort Worth. They dispersed the feminine products to about 60 families on May 30. See coverage of this effort here.

Support Our Girls During North Texas Giving Tuesday Now

Though much is uncertain or on hold right now, our girls’ futures are not. 

While Fort Worth ISD and YWLA are officially closed for the remainder of the school year — and the Foundation had to cancel our in-person Signing Day sponsor brunch — we are pivoting our programs to ensure the girls have what they need during these unprecedented times.

That’s why your gifts during North Texas Giving Tuesday Now will go directly to our 38 senior girls.

Now until midnight on May 5, you can support our senior class of 2020 — and other worthy organizations like ours that have been deeply affected by COVID-19 — during North Texas Giving Tuesday Now.

Capping Off Senior Year

Our YWLA seniors have spent seven years planning their trajectories and working hard towards high school graduation and acceptance into the colleges of their dreams. Though their senior year has been anything but normal, we’re here, as always, to support and empower these young women both to and through college.

Our goal is to raise enough to give each senior $250, which she can use for whatever pressing needs she may have — whether a fee that needs to be paid, a down payment on room and board, a meal card, dorm room essentials, textbooks, or even a tank of gas to drive to her new college destination. Anything we raise beyond $250 per student will go toward college programming to provide opportunities to future YWLA senior classes.

We take our mission seriously, and we need your help to continue fulfilling that mission. Your donations mean the world to us — especially our YWLA students, the next generation of female leaders.

Thank you.

A Day to Remember, Thanks to PwC

Thanks to Winjie Miao, Foundation board member and Committee Chair of Programs & Services, and Grace Shao, MD (PricewaterhouseCoopers) for making it possible for the YWLA senior class, as well as some YWLA alumnae, to visit PwC’s offices in downtown Dallas.

A Priceless Experience

Tour of PwC

We partner with organizations throughout DFW, and we’re honored to work with people who are as passionate about empowering and educating the next generation of female leaders as we are.

Thanks to new connections and to generous, passionate people, we were able to send YWLA’s senior class of 2020 and some alumnae to tour PricewaterhouseCoopers’ office in downtown Dallas, just steps away from Klyde Warren Park.

Several PwC employees from across the U.S., including Miami and San Francisco, spoke with the girls, explaining what they do at PwC and introducing them to the realm of possible internships and jobs that PwC offers. Each stressed how important it is to have a diverse team (in all senses) in order to be truly innovative.

“We need you even more than you need us.”

– David Clarke, CxO Experience Consulting, Digital & Products Strategy at PwC

We finished out the afternoon with lunch at the PwC cafe and conversation about overall takeaways, topping it off with the YWLA creed.

Shopping for Professional Clothes

Some generous PwC employees even donated money for alumnae to each purchase a professional outfit. We took them to Macy’s, and thanks to our personal shoppers, found clothes for all our girls. With these professional outfits, our alumnae can feel confident in themselves as they interview for jobs and once they enter the work environment after graduation.

We’re grateful to everyone, especially at PwC and Macy’s, who made this experience a successful and inspiring one.

Texas Women’s Foundation Luncheon 2019

“We are more than enough!”

The ballroom echoed as our Young Women’s Leadership Academy class of 2020 declared their worth at the live stream of the Texas Women’s Foundation luncheon yesterday, which was sponsored by our friends at the Dallas Mavericks. We were one of the few all-girls schools selected to attend and hear from inspiring speakers like Elaine Welteroth, author of “More Than Enough,” and Laysha Ward, Executive Vice President and Chief External Engagement Officer for Target. What an unreal event and such an honor and a pleasure to have been invited!

This opportunity would not have been possible without the help of our board member, Laura Baldwin, and Ashley Lindsay of the Texas Women’s Foundation.

Education Is A Girl’s Best Friend™ 2019

Education Is A Girl's Best Friend 2019
Our YWLA students with Deborah Ferguson, past board member, and Adam Jones, owner of GRACE restaurant downtown. (All photos by Rachel DeLira of StyleFW)

Our 5th annual Education Is A Girl’s Best Friend™ fundraiser in early November was a huge success, thanks to so many dedicated individuals and supporters.

Tracey Amaya, Foundation board chair, kicked off the night with a warm welcome, and Tamara Albury, principal of YWLA, brought it home with a moving speech about her “why” and some interesting facts about the school. Our guests also heard from YWLA students, both past and current — Redmond Wortham, class of 2016, who just became our first college graduate this May, and Diana Duran, a class of 2020 senior in the engineering pathway.

Our goal for the evening was $20,000, and we’re pleased to report we exceeded our goal. In total, our guests donated more than $24,000 toward the education and empowerment of our YWLA students.

What a powerful statement from our donors and supporters — that they truly believe education is a girl’s best friend.

We’re so grateful to everyone involved in making this event happen and to all our donors, supporters, and advocates in the local community. Thank you for believing in YWLA’s mission.


Alumnae Care Packages

Imagine for a minute that you’re a first-generation college student.

You’re away from your family, busy with classes — maybe you’re working or you’ve joined clubs or intramural sports. You’re trying to juggle your new responsibilities and realizing just how much you’ve had to grow up since high school.

Our Young Women’s Leadership Academy alumnae in college face these challenges daily, even if they’re not first-gen. So, we’ve expanded our mission to include helping YWLA alumnae stay in college and be successful.

Part of that mission is showing these young women we care — that they have a support system pulling for them as they work hard to earn college degrees and prepare to enter the real world.

That’s why we send care packages.

Junior League volunteers helped shop for, create, and ship out our alumnae care packages.
Junior League volunteers helped shop for, create, and ship out our alumnae care packages.

The Foundation staff sends out a survey to all the YWLA alumnae (all 130+ girls) to find out how they’re doing in school, what their majors are, and more. Then, the girls request items, whether they be snacks, toiletries, or school supplies. Thanks to a generous grant from Rainwater Charitable Foundation, we, along with some of our amazing Junior League volunteers, do a little (read: a lot of) shopping and voilà! We even include handwritten letters of encouragement to the alumnae from volunteers, students, teachers, and staff.

This year, we’re sending out about 100 care packages to our YWLA alumnae. Some have already received their packages and are sending photos and thank-you notes.

Thank you from an alumna

“Thank you so much for the best care package ever! It is definitely what I needed as I wrap up this crazy week of midterms. I’m extremely fortunate to be part of such a close and supportive network.”

Emily Morales, YWLA class of 2018, currently studying mechanical engineering at TCU

Sending alumnae care packages is just one way we show we care — and it’s an important one.

If you’re interested in getting more involved with the Foundation and the YWLA alumnae, keep an eye out for information about our winter and spring networking events. Or, you can contact Clara Cantu, our director of programs, at clara@ywlafortworth.foundation.

Upcoming Foundation Events

Mark Your Calendars!

Join us for these upcoming events hosted by the Foundation for YWLA.

Education Is A Girl’s Best Friend™ 
777 Main St, Fort Worth, TX 76102
Wednesday, November 6, 2019
5:30 – 7:30 p.m.

Enjoy cocktails and hors d’oeuvres while you mingle with the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth class of 2020 at this unique fundraiser. RSVP to the event here.

Spring 2020 Breakfast Tour
YWLA Commons
401 E 8th St, Fort Worth, TX 76102
Wednesday, February 19, 2020
8:30 – 9:30 a.m. 

Sip coffee and learn more about YWLA on a student-led tour of the school with other community supporters like you. RSVP to the event here.

Signing Day 2020
Fort Worth Convention Center Ballroom
1201 Houston St, Fort Worth, TX 76102
Wednesday, May 27, 2020
9 a.m. – 12 p.m.

Celebrate the success and college selections of our senior class of 2020 at this energetic fundraising event, dubbed “The Ultimate Pep Rally.”

For more information, contact Courtney Radcliffe at courtney@ywlafortworth.foundation.

Foundation for YWLA Participates in North Texas Giving Day 2019

The next generation of women in STEM fields starts right here…

This North Texas Giving Day, September 19, support the robotics students at the Young Women’s Leadership Academy (YWLA) as they explore futures in science, technology, engineering, and math.

These girls are the real deal. Last year, the YWLA robotics team, The Dork Side, advanced to the world championship competition in Austin. Your gift matters to these girls — and their futures in STEM.

Help us raise $13,000 for the YWLA robotics program so we can not only send these hardworking students to Worlds again this year, but also set them up for success in their future STEM-related careers.

Donate here:


Your generosity provides these necessary things:

  • $1,500 provides a robot building kit for the team
  • $250 sends a team of 15 girls to competition
  • $150 covers 1 student’s competition travel
  • $50 buys 1 replacement motor for competition
  • $25 gives 1 student school spirit attire

Thank you for your generosity and support! 

Foundation for YWLA Announces New, Returning Board Members

The Foundation provides financial support to Fort Worth ISD’s only single-gender school for girls, which focuses on STEM and visual arts and empowers young women typically from low socioeconomic households to excel in traditionally male-dominated fields.

The Foundation for the Young Women’s Leadership Academy of Fort Worth (YWLA) welcomes six new community members and two new partner representatives to its board of directors in 2019. The Foundation board consists of 22 members — 17 community members and 5 members representing the Foundation’s partners: Fort Worth ISD and Young Women’s Preparatory Network (YWPN). 

“We have an amazing board comprised of local industry and community leaders,” said Courtney Radcliffe, Executive Director of the Foundation for YWLA. “These incredible men and women bring diverse perspectives, expertise, backgrounds and passions to the table. I look forward to what the future holds for the Foundation as we continue to foster relationships with people and businesses in the local community and spread our mission of empowering our future female leaders through academic and leadership excellence.”

New Foundation board members in their first year of service include:

Ashleigh Blaylock serves as Deputy General Counsel – Litigation, Investigations and Restructuring for TPG Capital. As chief litigator, Ashleigh oversees litigation matters and investigations involving the firm and is the legal lead for restructuring involving TPG’s portfolio companies. She also co-leads TPG’s Fort Worth Women’s Affinity Network and is a member of TPG’s Global Diversity and Inclusion Council.

Lane Borrello is the Vice President of Public Affairs at GM Financial, responsible for the company’s public affairs and media relations. Lane previously served in a leadership capacity at 2e Creative, an award-winning healthcare agency, where she worked with clients like Alcon, Abbott Medical Optics and Siemens Healthcare on PR, employee communication, social media and patient advocacy campaigns.

Brittyn Brender serves as Director, Client Advisory Team at Tolleson Wealth Management. With 14 years of experience in wealth management, she was previously Sr. Vice President & Wealth Advisor for Argent Financial Group, and Sr. Vice President/Director of Private Trust at Tolleson prior to that. Brittyn also serves on the board of Junior League of Fort Worth as Assistant Finance Vice President.

Jeanelle Davis is the Regional Public Affairs Director of BNSF Railway, where she manages community, media and local government affairs for the company’s southeastern region. Previously, she served as an American diplomat, including assignments in Indonesia and Guinea. Jeanelle has extensive experience promoting education and advocating the inclusion of women in economic development. 

Tricia Elliott, M.D., serves as Sr. Vice President, Medical, Academic, and Research Affairs and Chief Academic Officer, Designated Institutional Official at JPS Health Network in Fort Worth. She is also Professor of Family Medicine at the TCU/UNT Health Sciences Center School of Medicine and Affiliate Professor at UNTHSC Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine.

Berta Fogerson is the Chief Academic & Accountability Officer for Young Women’s Preparatory Network. A 36-year veteran of education, Berta has 24 years of administrative experience, including serving as an assistant principal, middle school and high school principal, and as assistant superintendent. Previously, Berta served for six years as principal of a single-gender, public, all-girls school.

Keonna Roberts, Ed.D, serves as Director of Operations for Albert Roberts Law, PLLC in Fort Worth. Previously, she thrived as an elementary educator for 11 years in Fort Worth ISD and Birdville ISD. She is also a member of Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society in Education, the Association of Texas Professional Educators (ATPE) and Fort Worth Alliance of Black School Educators.

David Saenz is the Senior Officer for the Office of Innovation and Transformation at FWISD. A leader with more than 17 years of experience in public education at both the campus and district levels, David spent his first 12 years in Irving ISD serving as a middle school science teacher, middle school Assistant Principal and Middle School Principal. 

Returning board members:

The Foundation for YWLA Congratulates the School’s First Alumna to Graduate College

The Foundation for YWLA supports educating and empowering young women.

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.

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