Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School’s New Computer Lab Opens With Michael Hinojosa Snipping The Ribbon

What a great way to start the new school year off — a state-of-the-art computer lab ribbon cutting. And that’s exactly what happened on Tuesday, August 30, at Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School complete with Dallas Independent School District head honcho Dr. Michael Hinojosa holding the big old scissors. Here’s a report from the field:

On Tuesday, August 30, students at Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, a member of Young Women’s Preparatory Network (YWPN), received a back-to-school gift just in time to learn. NEC Foundation of America donated a state-of-the-art computer lab to help increase STEM learning.

Always ready to celebrate big donations, YWPN orchestrated a ribbon cutting with giant scissors and special people ready to cut them including Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa, Dallas ISD Board Trustee Bernadette Nutall, NEC CIO Juan Fontanes, Irma Rangel Principal Lisa Curry, YWPN CEO Lynn McBee and Irma Rangel students who interned at NEC and YWPN.

Lesly Zamora, Juan Fontanes, Michael Hinojosa and Lynn McBee*

Lesly Zamora, Juan Fontanes, Michael Hinojosa and Lynn McBee*

Earlier this spring, NEC Corporation of America CEO Shinsuke Takahashi toured Irma Rangel with Dallas ISD Superintendent Dr. Michael Hinojosa and Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins. Takahashi noticed the outdated computer lab, and recognized the need for an extreme technology makeover that his company could do.

Lynn McBee said, “I want to thank NEC Foundation of America for its partnership with us. Companies like yours are helping invest in students’ education, particularly STEM—Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.”

Lisa Curry*

Lisa Curry*

Lisa Curry added, “We now have a space that’s conducive to our students’ learning. This new computer lab will help them be on the cutting edge of 21st century technology. Now with the redesign, not only is there state of the art equipment, but there is:

  • community space to work on projects
  • an interactive white board that can project any one of the computers in the room for the whole class to see
  • headsets for communication, and
  • a clean space conducive to learning!”

Juan Fontanes said, “We are so happy to see how well this new state-of-the-art learning environment turned out and how it is being used today.”

Dr. Hinojosa added, “Only 23 percent of STEM workers are female, so this investment at the first all-girls, college-preparatory public school in Dallas will help increase that number.”

Irma Rangel senior Lesly Zamora, who also worked as an NEC IT intern this summer, admitted, “I’m also known as the Tech Geek in my school known for helping so many people at my school fix their computers. I learned how to be a Tech Girl in this computer lab, but I learned how to be a part of the community from my family. I am truly grateful because they gave up their education, so that my sister and I could have a much better one as first generation college students. That is why I come to school every day not to be taught, but to learn, and I know this new computer lab will be instrumental in our technological future.”

Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women's Leadership School students in computer lab*

Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School students in computer lab*

After the ribbon was cut, people toured the computer lab and watched as the students worked on their brand new computers. Then, Lesly demonstrated how to take apart and reassemble a computer in six minutes, beating her previous record of 12 minutes. As soon as she finished, everyone clapped. What a great way to start school for Lesly and her classmates with this new technology!

* Photo credit: Kristina Bowman

Young Women’s Preparatory Network Art Show At Talley Dunn Gallery Showcased The Theme Of “Respect Starts Here”

Beyond all the construction beyond Javier’s and even past Allie Beth Allman’s headquarters, the valets were lined up in front of what looked like rental storage units on Wednesday, May 4.

But as Claire and Dwight Emanuelson emerged from the lead unit, it became obvious this wasn’t your mama’s rental. It was Talley Dunn Gallery and in addition to the professional exhibitions, it was showcasing hundreds of very unique artwork that was for the taking.

So, as the Emanuelsons headed to a friend’s party and a lacrosse game, the crowd inside was checking out the OMG handiwork of Young Women’s Preparatory Network students on display at Talley Dunn Gallery. It was all a part of the YWPN’s “Respect Starts Here — Listen, Learn and Act” program that was kicked off last fall to promote empathy and equity through education.

Joyce and Larry Lacerte, Quincy Lacerte and Margaret Keliher

Joyce and Larry Lacerte, Quincy Lacerte and Margaret Keliher

Pamela Johnson, Kelsie Johnson and Bernadette Nutall

Pamela Johnson, Kelsie Johnson and Bernadette Nutall

Maria Johnston and Sally Posey

Maria Johnston and Sally Posey

Jin-Ya Huang and Lang Vovk

Jin-Ya Huang and Lang Vovk

With Natasha Bowdoin‘s “Spelboken” serving as a backdrop, YWPN CEO Lynn McBee welcomed guests including Joyce and Larry Lacerte, Roxann Vyazmensky, Margaret Keliher, Maria Johnson, Sally Posey, Jin-Ya Huang with Lan Vovk, Pam Johnson and Kelsie Johnson, Beth Thoele and DISD Board Member Bernadette Nutall, who said, “Respect Starts Here is important because developing leadership skills in economically-disadvantaged students who are starting off against the odds can help them to become proactive in dealing with issues that might detail their education. This program also embodies our three pillars of leadership, college readiness and health/wellness. We can’t wait to have our student leaders and faculty train our other network schools!”

Lynn McBee

Lynn McBee

Patty Leyendecker

Patty Leyendecker

Lynn then turned the mic over to YWPN Development Director Patty Leyendecker, who said, “Young Women’s Preparatory Network hired social justice organizations such as Journeyman Ink, Border Crossers and 29 Pieces to develop our program with best practices and to ensure our programming is intentional and effective in this goal. We also hired Diana O’Connor, who is passionate about this issue ans whose day job is the Irma Rangel librarian, to develop and implement our curriculum. The artwork you see tonight is part of a collaboration with 29 Pieces.”

Respect Starts Here artwork

Respect Starts Here artwork

Respect Starts Here artwork

Respect Starts Here artwork

After pointing out staffers and donors, Patty returned the mic to Lynn, who encouraged guests to “take on pieces that spoke to them and consider making a donation to the program as YWPN rolls it out to two more network schools.”

Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership Graduating Seniors Were Feted By Junior League Of Dallas Sustainers

With graduations blooming like flowers at the Arboretum, it’s time for the celebrations of graduating seniors to be celebrated. The Junior League of Dallas Sustainers decided to hold one of those for the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School grads like Rosa Mendoza, Angela Chavez, Maria Mendoza and Angie Escorza  on Saturday April 16. Here is a report from the field:

Rosa Mendoza, Angela Chavez, Maria Mendoza and Angie Escorza*

Rosa Mendoza, Angela Chavez, Maria Mendoza and Angie Escorza*

Junior League of Dallas (JLD) Sustainers hosted a special luncheon for the graduating seniors at Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, a member of Young Women’s Preparatory Network (YWPN), at JLD headquarters on Saturday, April 16. Those in attendance included students, family, Irma Rangel Principal Lisa Curry, College Bound Advisor Ann Marano, Community Liaison Katie Allbritton, Advisory Council Chair and JLD Sustainer Beth Brown and JLD Sustainers.

Beth Brown, Lisa Curry and Meredith Mosley*

Beth Brown, Lisa Curry and Meredith Mosley*

JLD President Meredith Mosley welcomed the students, the faculty and families and shared what JLD does. “The mission of the Junior League of Dallas is to develop women leaders who support the community. With more than 70% of our members working outside the home, we are in every part of this city working and volunteering for many worthy organizations.” She encouraged the seniors in their journey from high school to college, quoting from Ernest Hemingway: “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”

JLD Sustainer president Sandy Ammons welcomed everyone and thanked Carin Moeller and Amy Hatfield, who co-chaired the luncheon. She told the students that volunteering is important and to consider joining JLD after they complete college.

Sandy Ammons, Amy Hatfield and Carin Moeller*

Sandy Ammons, Amy Hatfield and Carin Moeller*

Moeller incorporated the Irma Rangel creed into her thoughtful remarks and finished with the last line: “Girls Today, Women Tomorrow, Leaders Forever.”

Hatfield had all the seniors stand for the exercise portion of the program, where she gave out door prizes based on certain information such as where they were born, how many siblings are in their family, etc.

The most popular attraction at the luncheon was the photo booth where the young ladies took photos dressed in colorful costumes and props.

Hatfield added, “This is the fourth year that the JLD Sustainers have celebrated the senior class, and we took their theme, Dream Big, and added, Dream Big in Texas. We know that these young ladies are on the path to fulfill their dreams with high school and college diplomas.”

YWPN Chief Marketing Officer and JLD Sustainer Juliette Coulter added, “What a celebration that the JLD Sustainers hosted for the seniors, especially the special gifts they presented. Irma Lerma Rangel was the first all-girls school in Texas and first member in the Young Women’s Preparatory Network. Now there are seven schools just like this one throughout Texas.”

YWPN network schools currently serve students in grades 6 through 12 on seven campuses across the state of Texas. YWPN’s results are amazing—100 percent of the girls graduate from high school and 100 percent are accepted into college. Sixty-eight percent of all students come from economically disadvantaged homes, and 68 percent of the Class of 2015 are first generation college students.

* Photos provided by Young Women’s Preparatory Network

JUST IN: Young Women’s Preparatory Network Adds Vivian Taylor And Juliette Coulter To Its Executive Team

Speaking of changes, the Young Women’s Preparatory Network (YWPN) CEO Lynn McBee has just announced some changes in her team. Two brand-new position have been created that tap the talents of a YWPN oldtimer and an area public relations expert.

First, Lynn got Vivian Taylor, who had been “the first principal of the founding network school, Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School,” to take on the new role of YWPN’s Chief Program Officer.

It was under Vivian’s leadership that the school founded in 2002 “produced strong academic performance, including a 100% graduation rate from high school and 100% acceptance rate to college, with millions of dollars awarded to students in merit and academic scholarships.”

According to Vivian, “Serving as principal of the first Young Women’s Preparatory Network school provides me with insight into how to develop programs that our network schools can use to educate and prepare our graduates for college, careers and serving their communities.”

Vivian Taylor*

Vivian Taylor*

Juliette Coulter*

Juliette Coulter*

The second addition was Lynn’s convincing public relations vet Juliette Coulter to leave the carefree life at The Coulter Group in helping clients like the Dallas Arboretum, Methodist Health System Foundation, the Ronald McDonald House of Dallas and The Trinity Trust, to name a few.

In joining YWPN, Juliette, who will be Chief Marketing Officer, sees this as “the perfect opening to help YWPN advance its mission of giving more young women the opportunity to receive a top-notch college preparatory education so that they will be well-prepared to attend college. I’ve seen the positive results of a single-sex education with my daughter and am honored to be a part of an organization with an incredible track record.”

According to Lynn, “I’ve known Vivian and Juliette and worked with them for several years. They are bringing their passion and know-how to further our mission of providing a quality education to many minority and first-generation young women. We are expanding our network of schools, and each one will help us reach our marketing and strategic goals as we help our schools educate many young women and prepare them to become tomorrow’s leaders.”

For the entire press release, just follow the jump!

* Photos provided by Young Women's Preparatory Network [Read more...]

Irma Lerma Rangel Grad Karla Guadalupe Garcia Rico To Receive $10,000 Nancy Lieberman Education Scholarship

Karla Guadalupe Garcia Rico and Viola Davis (File photo)

Karla Guadalupe Garcia Rico and Viola Davis (File photo)

Just got word that cute Karla Guadalupe Garcia Rico, who was such a hit at Attorneys Serving the Community Luncheon, has been chosen to be one of the 2014 Nancy Lieberman Education Scholarship recipients.

The Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School graduate will officially be awarded her $10,000 scholarship on Friday, July 25.

If you didn’t get a change to read about Karla, you missed an amazing story.

Attawaytogo, Karla, Nancy and Irma Rangel!

Attorneys Serving The Community Guests Were Wowed By Award-Winning Actress Viola Davis And A 2040 U.S. Presidential Contender

Law firms’ billing hours came to a grinding halt on Friday, June 20. The reason? Around a thousand attorneys, especially of the female variety, took a long, productive lunch at the Hilton Anatole for Attorneys Serving the Community’s 28th Annual ASC Luncheon.

Viola Davis

Viola Davis

It started for VIP’s,’ and practically everyone was, in the Peacock Room where featured speaker/award-winning actress Viola Davis posed for photos with guests. With her longer than a stretch limousine false eyelashes, she genuinely greeted each and moved the line along quickly, so no one was disappointed.

At 11:30 the doors to the Chantilly Ballroom opened and the crowd started moving in. Former WFAA anchor Gloria Campos sat on stage at the head table reviewing her notes. Since her “retirement” from the anchor desk, she’s become the go-to-gal for emceeing lunches. But on this day, she was hobbling a bit. Seems that she had tried out some new shoes while checking out the newly opened Continental pedestrian bridge. The shoes had a reputation for being comfy. Wrong! They resulted in a painful blister perfectly positioned at the Achilles heel. Gloria reported that as soon as the luncheon was over, she saw a flip-flop weekend in her future. In the meantime, a bandage cushioned her wound and the shoe.

Speaking of ladies of retirement, Sr. Margaret Ann Moser looked spectacular. But like Gloria, her retirement has not resulted in staying home watching “Golden Girls.” She’s still working with Ursuline 20 hours a week. BTW, construction is underway on Ursuline’s new athletic field that was named the Sister Margaret Ann Moser, O.S.U. Athletic Field earlier this year. Completion is scheduled for this fall.

Gloria Campos and Lynn McBee

Gloria Campos and Lynn McBee

By 11:55 Viola took her place at the head table. Someone in the growing crowd in the room applauded. Since the luncheon was benefiting Foundation for the Education of Young Women specifically the Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, FEYW CEO Lynn McBee was one of the guests at the head table. She was just back from the AFI salute for Jane Fonda. “I was over statted. They had me next to Meryl Streep.” Was the Academy Award winning actress a diva? “No, one of the nicest, most down-to-earth people. So were Morgan Freeman and Sally Fields.” A few of the others were “more distant.” But Lynn was officially mum on who they were.

At 12:13 Gloria recognized various judges in the audience and caught the audience up on her life after WFAA — she had sat next to 43 at a Rangers game, was grand marshal at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade, prom queen at Promise House, etc.

Kelli Hinson, Dena DeNooyer Stroh and Beverly Goulet

Kelli Hinson, Dena DeNooyer Stroh and Beverly Goulet

At 12:16 ASC Co-Chair Dena DeNooyer Stroh explained what the 400-member group’s purpose and how it’s raised more than $3.9M over the years for area nonprofits. She then told this year’s recipient, Irma Lerma Rangel School.

ASC Co-Chair Kelli Hinson joined Dena in presenting American Airlines with the “Friend of the Community Award” to AA Chief Integration Officer Beverly Goulet.

Kim Askew

Kim Askew

Honorary Chair/ASC Founding Member Kim Askew admitted that when ASC started, she never envisioned such growth. She was especially pleased that the day’s luncheon was benefiting the Irma Rangel School and “expected many of them (Irma Rangel students) to be sitting in this room one day or rooms like it.”

Vivian Taylor

Vivian Taylor

At 12:29 p.m. Lynn McBee how the school came about and recognized longtime Principal Vivian Taylor. Following a video on Irma Rangel, Gloria introduced a recent school graduate — Karla Guadalupe Garcia Ricos. If the adult speakers up to this point had been excellent, Karla blew them all out of the water. With a killer smile, positive attitude and no notes, she told of how Irma Rangel had been a life-changing experience. She was the first high-school graduate in her family. Her parents emigrated from Mexico and her mother often reminded the almost 18-year-old that if they had stayed in Mexico, Karla would probably “have been someone’s housekeeper and I would probably have two children by now.” Instead she was the first high school graduate in her family and had received a dozen scholarships to attend college.

Karla Guadalupe Garcia Rico and Viola Davis

Karla Guadalupe Garcia Rico and Viola Davis

Then she dropped an ironic note. When her father left Mexico at the age of 16 with nothing and no family, his first job was working at the power plant at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She then revealed, “Now 33 years later, through his sacrifice, through my mother’s, through my family, through the FEYW, through all the support and nourishment that I received, I will be coming back not as a laborer but a student.”

After that, she left no doubt that a presidential run in 2040.

At 12:52 p.m. Viola told how she was raised in abject poverty. At the age of five, she was told that the way out was education. Her father beat her mother constantly and Viola knew that she didn’t want to be her mother. As a child, she squelched her shame, insecurity and fear by overachieving. To prove that point, she told how by the age of 14, she received a scholarship from the Daughters of the American Revolution. Still inside she felt she was not good enough. Viola would gravitate toward competition.

Then at 28, she hit the wall. She recalled that when she was nine, her father was trying to break her mother’s legs. She ran into the bathroom and prayed to God that she by the time she counted to 10, she would disappear. When she hit 10 and was still there, she said, “I knew you didn’t exist.”

Years later at Julliard and she felt like “crap.” She won a Tony nomination and yet was depressed. Professionally and educationally, she wasn’t her mother’s daughter. But personally she was. Recognizing the situation needing fixing, she went to therapy. Two years ago when she was nominated for an Academy Award, she realized that she had a purpose — to be a voice of women of color in a male dominated industry.

That little girl, who had been so fearful in that bathroom, had overcome her fear. Then as an aside, she admitted, “I think I was low balling it when I gave God 10 seconds.”

Her advice to the room — “You’ve got to release the fear. It’s okay to be scared, but keep it moving.”

In closing, she told how she had a sister “who didn’t make it out.” Then out loud she wished an organization like this had existed for her sister.

At 1:15 Viola received a stand ovation. And who knows? She may have met a future U.S. President.

Award-Winning Viola Davis To Headline Attorneys Serving The Community Luncheon On June 20

Since being nominated for the Academy Award, Viola Davis has been a very busy woman. Recently her agenda has only ramped up. ABC just announced that she’ll star in a new series — How To Get Away With Murder — this fall.

Viola Davis*

Viola Davis*

But even before that announcement was made, the Tony-winner will be the keynote speaker for the 28th annual Attorneys Serving the Community luncheon on Friday, June 20, at the Anatole.

Benefiting the Foundation for the Education of Young Women, Davis is the ideal choice for the luncheon. She understands the hunger for education. Born on her grandmother’s farm in South Carolina, she grew up in Rhode Island, where her father worked at racetracks as a horse groomer. While in high school, she discovered the joy of acting. But to perfect her craft, she realized more education was needed following college. Through hard work and determination, she “earned a full scholarship to the Young People’s School of the Performing Arts,” which led to her attending Juilliard School.

The work paid off with her making her Broadway debut in 1996. Since then, the world of acting has been her ZIP Code. In addition to her success on the stage, she has earned major kudos on television (City of Angeles, Law & Order, etc.) and the big screen (Doubt, The Help, Beautiful Creatures, Eat, Pray, Love, etc.).

While most will immediately recall her performance in The Help, her role as the mother confronting Meryl Streep in Doubt was brief and a showstopper resulting in her first Academy Award nomination.

The fundraising lunch that is being chaired by Dena DeNooyer Stroh and Kelli Hinson should be fascinating thanks to this multi-talented actress, who like the ASC recognizes the importance of education and encourages young women to strive for it.

With tickets starting at $100, the money raised at the luncheon will “support an internship program at Irma Lerma Rangel Young Women’s Leadership School, the first FEYW network school in Dallas, which is celebrating its 10th anniversary.”

* Photo provided by Attorneys Serving the Community