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Gwinnett for Girls News

Ivy Scholar Places Wins Second Place In Gwinnett County Schools Art Competition

Ivy Scholar Places Wins Second Place In Gwinnett County Schools Art Competition

IPA Gwinnett sixth grader Ami Dodd-Mungin won second place in visual arts at the Reflections Arts Competition last month sponsored by the PTSA of Gwinnett County Schools, the state’s largest school system serving nearly 180,000 students.

Dodd-Mungin’s entry “Healing,” a self-portrait and reflection on her life since the loss of her father in 2014, received an “Honorable Mention” ribbon for a second-place finish in the visual arts drawing category.

The sixth grader was the first IPA scholar chosen to represent her school at the district level Reflections competition. She advanced to the district competition after winning first place in the visual arts and photography categories at Ivy Preparatory Academy’s Reflections Art competition in October.

“It’s really exciting,” said Dodd-Mungin. “It’s a huge accomplishment for me. It just shows me what I’m capable of. I am very happy that other people liked my art enough to give me a ribbon. Next year, I hope to advance to the state level.”

Dodd-Mungin’s self-portrait and photo entries were displayed in a Reflections Arts Competition exhibit at Duluth High School with other submissions from across the county. A representative from the PTSA at Ivy Prepratory Academies was among those in attendance.

The winners of the district level competition were chosen by a panel of independent judges from the arts community.


IPA Gwinnett Scholars Enjoy State Beta Club  Convention

IPA Gwinnett Scholars Enjoy State Beta Club Convention



Nearly 30 scholars represented Ivy Preparatory Academies at the annual Georgia Junior Beta Club Convention in Macon recently.

Ivy Scholar and Georgia Junior Beta Club State President  Selina Vazquez-Mendoza presided over the state convention, which attracted 8,000 people to the Macon Marriott City Convention Center on Nov. 17 and 18. Vazquez-Mendoza gave speeches, introduced special guests, presented awards, and participated in meetings. Her picture was featured on the convention website and program. The Ivy Scholar was the first public charter school student to be elected as state president of Georgia’s Beta Club. Her year- long term ends with the selection of the new president.

“Selina did an outstanding job leading the Beta Club Convention,” said Mr. Chaz Patterson, principal of IPA Gwinnett. “This was a great experience for her and an historic occasion for Ivy Prep to have an Ivy Scholar prominently featured as the president of a state organization. I am proud of her and the efforts of all of our scholars who participated in events at the convention. ”

Autumn Smart, a Beta Club member since elementary school, cheered for Vazquez-Mendoza as she performed official duties of the president. “Selina did a great job,” the seventh-grader said. “The convention was really fun.”

IPA Gwinnett had seven scholars to attend the 34th annual state convention “Beta Above And Beyond.” IPA Kirkwood, which recently inducted its first Beta Club members, brought about 20 people to the convention. The Ivy Scholars  competed in some of the academic-and-arts- themed events at the conference.

Eighth grader Joycelyn Lieu, a newcomer to the Beta Club Convention,  participated in the visual arts design challenge. She drew a picture of a tiger using vibrant colors. “It was really exciting,” she said of the conference. “I was able to meet a lot of new people and make friends with students from across the state.”

Her classmate, Makalya  Donald, also a newcomer to the Beta Club Convention, enjoyed watching schools compete in the arts and academic challenges.  “I liked to see what other schools did and hear about their creative process,” she said.

IPA’s Beta Club is a local chapter of National Junior Beta Club, the country’s largest independent nonprofit youth organization. IPA Beta Clubs promote scholarship, leadership, good character, and community service. IPA Gwinnett scholars in grades 6-8 who have stellar behavior and a grade point average of at least a 3.5 are recommended by teachers to be considered for membership in the prestigious organization.

Ivy Scholars have a legacy of achievement within Beta Club. In addition to Vazquez-Mendoza’s state presidency, IPA Gwinnett’s Beta Club also placed second at the state level in 2014 and placed fourth at nationals in 2015 playing a Jeopardy-style Quiz Bowl game that tested their mastery of math, literature, social studies, and science.

Seventh grader Sydnee Jefferson plans to continue the legacy of excellence. She ran for Beta Club state president. Her fellow club members joined her on stage for a dance performance supporting her candidacy. Jefferson said her time at Ivy Prep prepared her to stand before a crowd of 8,000 with confidence.

“I had to say my speech and answer questions,” she said. “It was a good experience.  I will run again.”


Scholars Enjoy Professional Development Wednesdays

Scholars Enjoy Professional Development Wednesdays



Ivy Preparatory Academies has launched a new program this school year that is providing weekly professional development sessions for teachers – and scholars.


The initiative, “Professional Development Wednesdays” is designed to help scholars grow in their intellectual and social development as young ladies, youth leaders, and future college graduates. The professional development sessions bring outside community partners to Ivy Prep to lead sessions on etiquette, public speaking, college planning, organization, and more.


Scholars in grades 6-8 rotate through the training sessions weekly while teachers meet for professional development elsewhere in the school.


“Professionalism is one of the core values that we teach at Ivy Prep Academy,” said Chaz Patterson, principal of Ivy Prep Gwinnett. “We want our scholars to represent themselves and Ivy Prep well in the community. The professional development sessions allow our scholars to spend time with experts who can help them to gain a competitive edge as they apply for internships, summer jobs, and academic enrichment programs.”


Patterson said he is seeking volunteers in the community to lead training sessions during the school year.


At least one training session each month focuses on the college enrollment process. The coaching helps scholars to become more familiar with fields of study, financial aid, and academic requirements.


Scholars recently began a college research project that challenges them to read college brochures from universities across the country and track their progress on a map. The session is led by Maggie Paynich, founder of Education Inspires, a college exploration program for middle school students.


“We are going to look at 50 colleges each, and we are going to aim for 25 different states,” Paynich told scholars at a recent session. “We are going to keep track of that so that you know where colleges are in the country.”


Scholars said the focus on higher education and self-improvement is helping them to think more seriously about the future.


“I am interested in going to Howard University or UCLA,” said Nia Spillers-Taylor, an eighth grader. “This is opening my eyes to what colleges really accept, and what they don’t like. It will help me to be more responsible.”





IPA Gwinnett Launches Drive To Fight Cancer

IPA Gwinnett Launches Drive To Fight Cancer



Scholars at Ivy Preparatory Academy Gwinnett have begun their first community service project of the school year. They are collecting contributions for the “Pennies for Patients” campaign sponsored by the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

The drive will raise money to help fight the leading childhood cancer, leukemia, a cancer of the blood-forming cells in bone marrow. The drive also will help to fight lymphoma, a cancer that attacks the immune system damaging white blood cells. September is “Blood Cancer Awareness Month.”

According to the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society:

  • An estimated 171,550 people in the US are expected to be diagnosed with leukemia, lymphoma, or myeloma in 2016. They will account for 10 percent of the cancer cases diagnosed in the U.S.
  • There are an estimated 345,422 people living with leukemia in the US.
  • Between 2008 and 2012, leukemia was the sixth leading cause of cancer deaths among women.


Funds raised through the “Pennies for Patients” campaign support cancer research and patient care for those who suffer from leukemia and lymphoma.

“At Ivy Prep, we teach scholars the importance of community service,” said Chaz Patterson, IPA Gwinnett principal. “We believe it is our duty to help others. We will participate in a community service project every month. It is a requirement for all scholars.”

IPA service projects are designed to help scholars learn about issues impacting women and families across the world. Prizes will be awarded to the scholar who raises the most money in the drive. Prizes also will be awarded to the houses – an assigned grouping of students across grades- that raise the most money.

“Scholars will be collecting pennies, nickels, and dollars for a good cause, so dig deep into your wallets,” Patterson said.

Since the “Pennies for Patients” campaign was launched in 1994, millions of dollars have been raised in pennies and other spare change by more than 10 million elementary, middle, and high school students throughout the country. The funds are collected over a three-week period.

Next month, IPA Gwinnett scholars will sponsor a drive to fight breast cancer.

For more information on the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, visit


IPA Gwinnett Seeks High Achievers To Join Beta Club

IPA Gwinnett Seeks High Achievers To Join Beta Club



Ivy Preparatory Academy Gwinnett is seeking  high-achieving scholars to join the Beta Club, an elite organization that exposes straight-A students to leadership training and college scholarships.

The Ivy Prep Academy Beta Club promotes scholarship, leadership, good character, and community service. Ivy scholars in grades 6-8 who have stellar behavior and a grade point average of at least a 3.5 are recommended by teachers to be considered for membership in the prestigious organization.

“Beta Club is important because it teaches girls to be articulate, to speak in front of groups, and to  advocate for themselves, especially when they are applying for things like internships and scholarships,” said Beta Club sponsor and English Language Arts teacher, Julie Carroll. The ELA teacher was a Beta Club member as a middle and high school student.

IPA Beta Club members in grades 7-8 travel to an annual state leadership conference each year that features motivational speakers and club competitions. Students attend seminars and compete in events that showcase their academic and artistic talents.

IPA’s Beta Club is a local chapter of National Beta Club, the country’s largest independent nonprofit youth organization. National Beta Club has been serving scholars for more than 80 years. It has more than 350,000 members nationwide.

Gwinnett’s Beta Club chapter made state education history twice. Last November, IPA Gwinnett scholar Selina Vazquez-Mendoza became the first public charter school student to be elected as state president of Georgia’s Beta Club. Her term ends in December. She will serve as a leader at the state conference.

“Over the summer, I went to leadership camp and we did a lot of activities,” she said. “It was really fun. I met a lot of people from other schools through this experience. It has given me a broader view of Beta Club. I am considering running for office in the organization when I get to high school.”

Gwinnett’s Beta Club also was the first club from a single-gender public charter school to win as a top contender in the Quiz Bowl at the state conference level. The team placed fourth at nationals in 2015 playing a Jeopardy-style Quiz Bowl game that tested their mastery of math, literature, social studies, and science.

This school year, Ivy Preparatory Academy Kirkwood will also have a Beta Club chapter. Kirkwood’s Beta Club will be open to scholars in grades 3-8. “We will have a friendly rivalry with Gwinnett,” said Dr. LaShunda Hawkins, sponsor of irkwood’s Beta Club. “We have a lot of work to do.”

The officers for Gwinnett’s Beta Club are: Selina Vazquez-Mendoza, who is president; Kayla Slack, who is vice president; and Natalie Vega, secretary.

IPA Gwinnett Inducts New Ivy Scholars

IPA Gwinnett Inducts New Ivy Scholars



New students at Ivy Preparatory Academy Gwinnett were inducted as Ivy Scholars recently in a special celebration welcoming them to IPA.

The New Scholars Ceremony, held at Unity Atlanta, was attended by more than 150 IPA scholars, faculty, and parents. Scholars sang the school song and shared what they learned about the culture and history of IPA during their first week of school.

State Rep. Dar’shun Kendrick was guest speaker for the event.

Principal Chaz Patterson presented new scholars with ivy plants and told scholars that he expects them to thrive like the ivy throughout their years at middle school. He said they began school a week early to allow them to make the transition from an “ordinary” school experience to one of “excellence.” IPA’s “Prep Values” encourage scholars to show perseverance, responsibility, engagement, and professionalism at school and in their communities.

“The vision of Ivy Prep is to meet the needs of every child right where she is and do whatever it takes to help her to reach her full potential,” Patterson told scholars. “We promise to be your academic guides to help you transition from child to adolescent, and from adolescent to young woman by giving you all the support you need to be successful scholars and responsible citizens.”

State Rep. Kendrick reminded scholars that ivy plants are among nature’s most resilient species. “The English Ivy stays green year round while other plants around it die off during the fall and winter months,” Kendrick said. “Ivies are assertive. The vine can attach to a tree trunk and climb its way all the way up the tree covering leaves and branches … So hold your head high, young women, do the work, keep going, endure what’s ahead and know that you look good in the process—-all four seasons.

“If there is an obstacle in your way, tear it down,” she added. “If there are temptations that are distracting you from you school work, tear them down. If there are negative people in your life, let your light shine so brightly that you cover their negativity in your ivy leaves. That is the way of the ivy.”

Alisha T. Morgan, executive director of IPA, thanked parents for entrusting Ivy Prep with the education of their daughters. She said that they will see the choice pay off in scholarship opportunities for their children.

“Your parents and your family members have made an excellent choice,” Morgan told scholars. “What we expect from you is to do your very best. When you stand up every morning in school and you offer that Scholars Creed and you say words like ‘I study hard and study longer because that’s what scholars do,’ remember this picture today of all the people who are surrounding you, loving you, and embracing you, and expect great things. You are part of a group of great trailblazing women and we expect nothing less from you.”

The new scholars will begin classes on Monday, the official start of school for all scholars at Ivy Prep Gwinnett and Ivy Prep Kirkwood School for Girls.

For the full text of State Rep. Kendrick’s speech click below:


Apply To Receive Free and Discounted School Meals


Ivy Preparatory Academies provides free and discounted meals to scholars whose families meet income guidelines set by the federal government for the school meal assistance program. Follow the link below to apply for free and reduced-price meals.

For more information on IPA’s breakfast and lunch program, contact Ms. LaTanya Crooms, School Nutrition Program Manager, at Ms. Crooms can also be reached at 404.622.2727 at IPA Kirkwood and 770.342.1297 at IPA Gwinnett.

Ivy GW 2016-2017 Lunch App

IPA School Supply List – Grades 6-8

IPA School Supply List – Grades 6-8


Middle School Supply List

• Three blue or black colored pens
• One red pen for correcting
• Three pencils with erasers
• 1-3 colored highlighters, depending on the teacher
• Colored pencils
• Six-inch both standard and metric ruler
• Pencil case
• College ruled paper
• Scientific calculator
• 2-4 separate, single-subject spiral-bound notebooks (100pages),     depending on teacher, college ruled
• 1 Composition notebook
• Small pencil sharpener
• Scissors
• Small stapler
• Fine-tipped, black, felt pen
• 2-3 small packs of sticky notes
• Sturdy folder for miscellaneous papers or homework
• Colored markers
• index cards
• 5 composition books
• one box of Kleenex tissue
• one bottle of hand sanitizer
• one pack of dry erase markers
• 1 inch binder
• 4 packages of tabbed dividers

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