Yellowstone students attend campus ribbon cutting ceremony. Credit: Jimmie Aggison.

The school hosted a ribbon-cutting celebration on its newly-remodeled 4-acre campus, which includes more than 50 classrooms, learning centers, playgrounds and green spaces, two multipurpose centers, a library, music room, art studio and innovation hub.

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According to Yellowstone, for the last 20 years, the school has has served students impacted by generational poverty and lacking access to educational opportunities.

“What Third Ward is getting out of this is… that every student is born with a purpose and destined for success,” said Ryan Dolibois, executive director of the Yellowstone Schools. “We are providing a place, both a private school and public charter school, where they can be loved, where they can be valued, where they can be exposed to the city, and where they can be held to very high expectations, to a standard of excellence for life beyond these four walls.”

Cafeteria Rendering of Yellowstone new renovation. Photo: Yellowstone Schools

Nicola Springer was the principal architect of the campus’ new construction. She said the building designs channel the community’s history and culture.

“This is—a reinvestment into Third Ward by adding this new campus. The building gains its inspiration from the original architecture of Third Ward,” Springer said. “So whether it’s the row houses, the brick building, or red tile roofs, the art of famous artists like John Biggers, the building constantly reinforces the culture and quality [of the community].

Yellowstone Schools serves about 500 students a year. Its students continued pursuing post-secondary opportunities and vocational certificates. In 2012, the school celebrated its first eighth-grade graduating class. Of that class, 92% graduated high school, and 80% pursued a college education.

Community members attend Yellowstone ribbon cutting ceremony. Credit: Jimmie Aggison

Nick Jones is an alumnus of the graduating class of 2012. He graduated from Houston Baptist University and later returned to Yellowstone to work as a part-time student recruiter.

“I enjoy seeing teachers who are still here and the facility itself because I know what they’ve done for the kids and myself personally. The community also brought me back to connect with [youth], letting them know that you can graduate, go to high school and college, and do whatever you want to do.”

I cover Houston's education system as it relates to the Black community for the Defender as a Report for America corps member. I'm a multimedia journalist and have reported on social, cultural, lifestyle,...