LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Every day, 8-year-old Zarah Ibn-Mohammed watches her big brother Malachi put on his W.E.B. DuBois Academy blazer and orange tie; it’s an identity he’s really proud of.
“When he started going to DuBois, I realized that he kind of grew out of that little shell,” Zarah said.
Malachi is one of the lucky middle schoolers who can call himself a Young Lion.
”If I can get the same experience for her that Malachi is getting now, I just feel like they both would be just awesome through high school and into college,” said Zarah’s mother, Keyana Thomas.
Thomas, Zarah and Malachi were at the VanHoose Education Center in August when the Jefferson County Board of Education approved the all-girls counterpart.
"I immediately thought about my daughter because I want what’s best for my children,” Thomas said.
JCPS named Rhonda Cosby, an educator of 27 years, principal of the first-of-its-kind academy.
Cosby is pulling double duty right now. She's still the principal of Chancey Elementary while working to develop the new program.
“As a female and an African-American female, I understand the importance of knowing who you are and being OK with who you are, and then on top of that technology, I’ve always enjoyed working with technology,” said Cosby, who added that the program will have a STEAM focus.
Admission is not limited to girls of color, but they will offer Afro-centric curriculum.
”We can bring out their brilliance, their beauty, and help them understand that they first need to love self so they can love others and serve their community, and I want to be a part of that,” Cosby said.
Beginning with the first class of 6th graders in the fall of 2020, the program will eventually build from grades 6 through 8. Zarah still has a few years until she can apply.
"Right now I’m only in third grade so I still have many years to go, but, I’m still really excited,” Zarah said.
The program could be named after the first black woman to travel in space, Dr. Mae Jemison. That’s the name the group collecting community feedback plans to recommend to the board at the next meeting on Nov. 12.
When it comes to applying for the school, the time is now. Any female student entering 6th grade next school year can register using the JCPS website or by visiting any JCPS school or the student assignment office until Dec. 18.
Click here for more information.