Herstory: Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy Receives First National STEM Honor Society Charter in State of Georgia

Photo credits: Trey King of King.Digital3

As the nation celebrates the outstanding achivements of women during Women’s History Month in March, Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Leadership Academy (CSKYWLA) made history of its own on March 19 by becoming the first school- as well as the first all-girls school – to earn a National STEM Honor Society charter in the state of Georgia.

Maxine Cain, founder and president of STEM Atlanta Women, presented the charter recognition to Principal Eulonda Washington on behalf of her organization and the National STEM Honor Society.

During the event, Cain recognized CSKYWLA for promoting student excellence in the STEM disciplines. Other guests included Associate Superintendent Dr. Dan Sims and CSKYWLA administrators, staff and students.

Cain said the relevance of CSKYWLA receiving a national STEM Honor Society chapter is especially significant because when it comes to science and math, representation and access to opportunities matters.

“From an African American female perspective, representation is key – especially for students to see females in careers and spaces that they may not know about,” Cain said. “The National STEM Honor Society is really all about project-based, hands-on learning, and gives students the skills, tools and confidence they need to succeed. And because it’s National Women’s History Month, I felt it was so important to bestow this honor for that reason. For CSK to be the very first chapter in the entire state of Georgia and for an all-girls, underrepresented, and underserved school to have this honor, is priceless.”

“Students will now get the credentialing, the certification, and as much as on-site learning here in the state of Georgia, and still be rewarded national honors for the work they are doing,” she added. “This opens up doors for them to have access to STEM careers like cyber security, business intelligence, artificial intelligence, and food science. It’s whatever they want to be, and other careers that they’re not even aware of.”

Known for several innovative and groundbreaking programs ranging from quail guardianship and sewing to gardening, bee keeping, and a multiple selection of foreign languages (Spanish, French German, Japanese), Principal Eulonda Washington said that CSK has since added karate to its curriculum. The school also plans to add a biliteracy track, allowing students to study nine weeks of foreign langagues (Japanese, Germany, Spanish and French) before pursuing proficiency and earning a biliteracy seal on their diplomas.

Thanks to a village of parents, teachers, staff and community members, Washington said that stakeholders have played an integral role in helping develop the school’s vision that all CSKYWLA scholars will be globally conscious, college and career ready STEMinists.

“I am deeply honored and greatly appreciative to STEM Atlanta for bestowing this upon us, and for my teammates who have been working alongside me everyday hard at work,” Principal Washington said. “They love hard and they work even harder, so thank you. And thank you to my students – my phenomenons – for the hard work that you do. This is all because of you.”

Dr. Dan Sims, associate superintendent in the Office of High Schools, praised CSKYWLA for being a STEM trailblazer.

“This moment and this honor is huge. To be the first honor society of its kind in the state of Georgia makes CSK not only the first, but also the trailblazers for everyone else because people will follow,” Dr. Sims said. “The possibilities are also huge because we know what’s happening in the world as it relates to STEM. STEM is growing, STEM is needed, STEM is going deep. We look forward to hearing the time when people talk about CSK becoming trailblazers for society and the STEM movement that continues to grow and flourish – not only in Georgia and the United States – but in the entire world.”

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