WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - The Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington (GLOW Academy) celebrated the grand opening of their new campus Thursday with a ribbon-cutting ceremony and school tours, followed by a celebrity chef party.
Hurricane Dorian forced school officials to reschedule the grand opening, which was initially scheduled for the first week of September.
“This has been such an amazing journey. We started out on this part four years ago in a very small building at 606 S. College Rd. and we moved into this amazing, beautiful space this summer. We of course expected to celebrate at the beginning of September but Hurricane Dorian threw us off. So now with a month under our belts we are ready to celebrate the opening of our school,” said GLOW Principal Laura Hunter
The opening celebrations featured a lineup of speakers who were integral in getting the school created, including remarks from Judy Girard, GLOW Founder and President Emeritus of the Food Network and HGTV.
Kristin Cooper, the First Lady of north Carolina also spoke.
GLOW Academy’s campus is located at 4100 Sunglow Drive and presently serves approximately 400 6th through 9th-grade girls.
“GLOW is a part of a movement in the United States that is about educating young women so they can claim their place in board rooms and managerial positions and places of science and technology in our country and worldwide. We are all about empowering young women, well really they empower themselves. We just provide the campus and the space to find their voice and that’s what we’re really about,” Hunter said.
The Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington is North Carolina’s only single-gender public charter school. Hunter explained why this type of school environment makes such an impact.
“One of the wonderful things about being on a single gender, public school campus is that our girls are authentically themselves everyday when they walk through the doors. They in their middle school journey, learn find their voice, advocate for what they believe in and what they want, and our job is to listen and to help them make their way into adult in the safest and healthiest way possible. They are amazing,” Hunter said.
GLOW is part of a sister network of schools nationwide.
“What we have learned about that sister network is that girls who come out of an single-gender, public school environment in middle school and high school are much more confident in their college experience and as they make a claim for them-selves in the professional world. They are able to say here’s my value, here’s what I deserve and here’s what I want,” Hunter said.
The school campus, located on a 31-acre site near Maides Park at the end of Sunglow Drive, includes an 18,600 square-foot middle school building, a 19,183 square-foot high school building, an expansive media center, cafeteria, maker space, teaching kitchen, administrative offices, and outdoor learning areas.
Construction began in May of last year.
The school’s administrative office, cafeteria, middle school, and media center buildings opened for the start of the 2019-2020 school year. The high school building, which will also house the art studio, music studio and science lab, will open in mid-October.