“It is a history-making day in Kansas City”

Community celebrates opening of first all-girls charter school in Kansas City

Elizabeth Orosco
Northeast News

Kansas City Girls Preparatory Academy welcomed their first students Monday, August 19. Community members, leaders, parents, and staff gathered Monday, August 26 to celebrate the school and the students.

The first all-girl charter school in Kansas City was founded by Christine Kemper and Julie Tomasic and is an affiliate of the Young Women’s Leadership Network (YWLN).

KCGPA will serve 100 5th-grade girls during the 2019-2020 school year and continually add on one grade each year up to 12th grade.

The Board of Directors include Kemper, Tomasic, former mayor Sly James, Judge Lisa White Hardwick, McClain Bryant Macklin, and Martha Salinas.

Kemper thanked the parents for entrusting their children into the hands of staff at KCGPA.

“Thank you to our families who put their faith in us to help their daughters realize every strength an excellent education can bring,” she said.

Ann Rubenstein Tisch, the founder and president of Student Leadership Network, an organization that operates The Young Women’s Leadership Schools, who has opened numerous schools across the country, said this school is extremely special to her.

“It is a history-making day in Kansas City,” she said.

She highlighted the importance of quality education, pointing to her own education she received right here in Kansas City.

“Education is the only real equalizer that can break cycles of poverty and transform generations,” she said. “Our schools offer our students a clear path to college. In our network, our girls and young women are four times more likely to attend and graduate from college than their peers.”

To the students, she asked them to remember one thing on the days when they are feeling tired and not looking forward to coming to school.

“Remember always that you are the lucky ones,” she said. “You are lucky because there are 60 million girls across the globe who are denied an education. They are not allowed in schools. This school is a gift. What we are all witnessing this morning is America at its very best.”

Tara Haskins, school leader, said the girls spent the first week coming together as a community learning what it means to discover your voice.

“We concluded that our girls don’t need to discover their voice; they already have it,” she said. “As children, and women, and women of color, their voice is mostly shunned upon, but ladies, we know it’s your voice that is truly going to disrupt systems and truly make a change in Kansas City.”

Representative Sharice Davids, who represents Kansas’ 3rd Congressional District, told her story and gave the girls two pieces of advice.

“First, when you’re feeling down or blue or things feel stressful, take a nap. Second, you get to decide what success means for you,” she said.

Mayor Quinton Lucas said this was one of the most exciting days of his three-and-a-half weeks as mayor.

“A lot of us are asked what can you do to make things in Kansas City better. This school is exactly the answer,” he said. “This is exactly the thing we need to have. Let’s make sure we are building opportunities like this because you are so valuable, we care about you so much, and I want you to run this city in no time, and you will.”

For more information on the school and enrollment, visit kcgpa.org or call (816) 268-2573.

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