According to Principal Berta Fogerson, the Margaret Talkington School for Young Women Leaders was established back in 2008, one of 6 all girls schools in Texas to offer a college preparatory curriculum.
"We are funded like every LISD school," said Fogerson. "We get a per-pupil allotment just like any other school in the district. But part of the partnership with the Foundation for the Education of Young Women was to partner with a private, non-profit entity that would support any kind of initiative that would level the playing field for the girls at our school."
Level the playing field, said Fogerson, in areas like math and science.
"If we can have them 6th grade through 12th grade, we are very confident that we can mold them and provide them with the skills and everything that they need to have to be that student that every university wants to recruit."
And Though they offer some special advantages they aren't a private school.
"We are a true magnet school," said Fogerson. "So we do not have a feeder pattern of kids that come from a certain neighborhood on top of the magnet program that we offer. We are the true, full magnet setup."
Girls wanting to attend the school must apply and meet certain requirements.
"A 3.0 GPA," explained Fogerson. "We look for good, solid leadership, recommendations from teachers and staff members at the schools that they come to us from. We certainly look at performance on state assessments, but we look at the girl holistically."
Nearly 6 years ago when they selected that first class of young ladies, no one really had a clear idea of how things would evolve, but senior Chika Gbenoba says it certainly sounded like a good choice to her.
"It was just going to prepare us for the future, you know how like, you can lead like fundraisers and leadership," said Gbenoba. "It's just going to make us grow like as a character and as a person to take initiative and do things that are going to help not just yourself but everyone around you, your community. That's what that meant to me and I thought that was a great opportunity for any young girl."
Now, after adding high school grade levels and a several million dollar upgrade, the school is ready to send 17 seniors out into the world.
Fogerson said all of them are going to college.
Senior Sirena Coronado will be a first generation college student, and says that the school gave her everything she needed to get ready to make the leap.
"This experience has been life changing, considering probably if I hadn't come here I would've maybe not have gone to college," said Coronado.
Among many famous and inspirational guests that visit the school to speak to the girls are also college recruiters stopping by at least twice a week.
"Our girls work with a college adviser that works with them from the time that they're in the 6th grade," said Fogerson. "They have portfolios with their resumes, their community service, their essays that they have prepared and been working on since they were freshmen for scholarship and college applications."
As for the seniors that will be graduating next spring, Fogerson said that she couldn't be happier for them.
"They have been persistent and they have excelled and they are truly exceptional girls. We're so proud to have them as our first graduating class. They've been leaders and they've set the bar really high for their sisters to follow."
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