All-Girls Charter School Opens
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"I didn't make it. It was just horrible."
Olivia Olyer was in tears last April when she was wait listed at the Young Women's College Prep Charter School in Rochester. Then she got the call back in June that she had been accepted at the all-girls school.
"It means a lot. It's very good that you're going to an all-girls school and they help you with college."
Olivia is one of 79 seventh graders at the school that is expected to grow to serve Rochester students in grades 7 through 12. The school was born out of a model downstate.
"This was my dream when I moved here eight years ago from New York City," said Laura Rebell Gross.
Laura taught at an elite all-girls school in East Harlem. The school celebrated a graduation rate of more than 96-percent over the past ten years. Of those students 75% graduated from or remain in college.
Rebell Gross wanted the same for Rochester.
"Our kids are not graduating from high school, they're not going onto college, and perhaps even more importantly, they're not seeing themselves, they're not creating a vision for their lives."
The new charter school believes students will also learn how to work together, but will still have their own unique voices. The goal is to allow them to grow within and outside the school environment.
"A school like this empowers young women to become leaders to get the academic training that they need, to get the nurturing and the care from their teachers and their parents."
Staff, students, and supporters helped kick off the opening day of school with a special ceremony.
These students will be the graduating Class of 2018, and as the girls begin their journey on unchartered territory, educators are hoping to give them the tools necessary to develop the strong voices needed to become leaders.
"I have every confidence that every single one of them will be going to a four-year college in six years."
"Whatever it takes for me to become what I want to be, however I have to do it,” said Gabriellia Bellomio.