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On the first day of sixth grade at Ivy Prep Academy, Angel Hodo knew that she had found a school that would help her to build a foundation for her future.

It didn’t matter that Ivy Prep was still in its infancy and classes were temporarily being held in a church until the new school opened in an office park. It was the learning environment that intrigued her – the focus on college, the academic rigor, the single-gender classrooms. Ivy Prep was a place where girls could feel free to ask questions, be smart and show leadership, Hodo said. “When the school first started, a lot of girls I met stated that their parents made them come,” Hodo said.

“They really didn’t know that much about the school. For me, it was different. I actually made the decision to come here. I wanted to meet new people and be away from the drama and other distractions of my old public school.”

Hodo said she came to Ivy Prep as a shy B-C student. In sixth grade, she changed her work and study habits and saw her grades improve. Now, as a senior, Hodo takes honors classes and earns A’s and B’s. The senior class president is on track to complete her high school education in May as a member of Ivy Prep’s first graduating class.

Ivy Prep’s focus on teaching, learning and academic support helped Hodo to gain confidence in herself as a scholar. “The first few months of middle school, I had to have homework support,” she said. “Being able to ask the teachers a lot of questions really helped me.”

Hodo left Ivy Prep to try freshman year at a traditional public high school. She returned a year later because she missed the structure, the work ethic, and the culture of high expectations.

“My grades weren’t as good as I expected them to be freshman year at my other public school, “ Hodo said. “I came back to Ivy Prep sophomore year to better my grades. At Ivy Prep, I learn a lot better, and I can focus better because there aren’t as many distractions. Over the years at Ivy Prep, I learned to work harder and to push myself.”

The decision to come back to Ivy Prep, says Hodo, meant giving up a traditional high school experience of Friday football games and formal dances. But Hodo believes she is getting something more valuable in return. Ivy Prep is a direct pipeline to college, and that is something that is more important than a homecoming dance, she said.

“It’s better now to go get your education while you are in high school and then enjoy the fun stuff later,” Hodo said. “When you go to college there will be plenty of time for that. I’m here to get to the college of my choice.”

Hodo is studying for the SAT so that she lands at a good school. She plans to stay close to home and apply to Kennesaw State University, Georgia State University, and West Georgia College and State University. She plans to major in business management and minor in psychology. The functions of the brain fascinate her.

“I envision myself running my own practice,” Hodo said. “I want to be a counselor because I like working with kids and adults.”

With a diploma from IPA, Hodo believes she will be successful at any college she chooses. “Ivy Prep pushes you further and motivates you to want to change. You actually become the student that you want to be.”

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