GLOW hosts chef Robert Irvine; to name school building for Althea Gibson

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Chef Robert Irvine and Althea Gibson (Photo: WWAY/ Cape Fear Museum of History and Science)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — The Girls Leadership Academy of Wilmington, or “GLOW,” held their 4th annual fundraiser Friday at Landfall Country Club.

GLOW Academy also announced Friday it will name a building on its new middle and high school campus Gibson Hall honoring tennis legend Althea Gibson.

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A celebrity chef from Food Network travels to the Port City every year for the event to provide food and a bit of wisdom on leadership experience.

Robert Irvine had that honor, and he feels a special connection to these girls due to his upbringing and life experiences before becoming a world-famous celebrity chef.

“I understand what it’s like to be … given a leg up or taken out of something because these girls would’ve never gotten the opportunity they’re doing now if it wasn’t for GLOW,” Irvine said. “I was lucky i joined the military and learned those things so i’m from the same background.”



“Here we get to be ourselves,” Student Victoria Roblero said. “We get to empower each other and if we ever feel down we have each other to lift each other up.”

The funds raised this year will go towards the new school campus being built, and the 8th grade field trip to Washington D.C.

They will move to its new and permanent campus at the start of the next school year. The campus is near Maides Park and will eventually serve some 700 middle and high school students when it reaches full enrollment in the 2022-23 academic year.

Althea Gibson moved to Wilmington in 1946 to attend Williston High School and train privately with Dr. Hubert A. Eaton who served as her tennis coach. She went on to become the first African-American to win Wimbledon, the French Open, the Australian Doubles and the US Open in the late 1950’s. Her remarkable tennis career yielded nearly 100 professional titles including five Grand Slam crowns.