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New Simon Youth Academy Opens at Sugarloaf Mills

Simon Youth Foundation and Gwinnett County Public Schools partner to serve students at new Phoenix High School at Sugarloaf Mills

October 15, 2018

Media Contact:
Colton Moore, Zeno Group


Dedication Ceremony: Thursday, October 18, 2018, at 1 p.m.
Phoenix HS at Sugarloaf Mills is located at the mall (5900 Sugarloaf Parkway, Lawrenceville, GA) at Entrance 6 between Burlington and Goldeagle Airsoft

LAWRENCEVILLE, GA. (October 10, 2018) – Sugarloaf Mills, a Simon Property and Georgia’s largest value shopping, entertainment and dining destination is excited to announce the dedication of Phoenix High School at Sugarloaf Mills, a Simon Youth Academy in partnership with Simon Youth Foundation (SYF) and Gwinnett County Public Schools.

In 1998, Simon Property Group employees founded SYF to take aim at the nation’s dropout crisis and break down barriers that prevent students from succeeding in high school and beyond. SYF recognizes the potential in all students, and through partnerships with Simon properties and local school districts, provides resources and builds an educational environment tailored to their needs. 

Each year, more than 1 million students in America drop out of high school; thanks to generous supporters and an amazing network of educators, SYF has helped turn lives around in over 20 public school districts nationwide. SYF partners with local public school districts to launch Simon Youth Academies, alternative classroom settings located primarily in Simon malls, and provides Simon Youth Scholarships to graduating seniors in Simon mall communities.

“We’re extremely excited to provide such a wonderful educational opportunity for our community,” says Robson Souza, General Manager at Sugarloaf Mills, “We hope our alternative education programs will inspire more students to not only earn their high school degree, but also graduate with a clear career plan.”  

The curriculum for students attending Phoenix High School at Sugarloaf Mills will be similar to other students in the school district, however the program is designed to serve students committed to completing their education but who require additional support or are interested in working while they go to school. The Sugarloaf Mills program is designed to be small, allowing more individualized support for each student and supporting students as they transition to college or the workplace. 

“I would like to thank the Simon Property Group and Simon Youth Foundation for their commitment to our community and our students,” says CEO/Superintendent J. Alvin Wilbanks. “This partnership is a great example of what can happen when businesses and school systems come together to serve students. Working together, we are able to provide a great new educational option for students who are looking for a non-traditional school environment… an option that focuses on student success and preparing students for college and careers.”

Since its inception nearly 20 years ago, SYF has helped more than 17,000 students around the country graduate high school—35 percent of whom are the first in their family to graduate. In addition, SYF supports these students in their pursuit of post-secondary opportunities through college counseling and scholarships. In the 2017-18 school year alone, SYF awarded more than $1 million in scholarships, which can be used to pursue college, career training, and other continuing education opportunities.

“For almost 20 years, we’ve continued our mission to provide students in communities the opportunity to receive an education they otherwise may not have been able to receive,” said Dr. J. Michael Durnil, President and CEO, Simon Youth Foundation. “We’re proud to be working with Sugarloaf Mills and Gwinnett County Public Schools to expand those opportunities with Phoenix High School at Sugarloaf Mills, where we’ll provide a flexible learning environment, so these students can achieve their dreams through education to lead successful lives.”

Sugarloaf Mills will be hosting a dedication ceremony in celebration of the opening Phoenix High School at Sugarloaf Mills, a Simon Youth Academy on October 18 at 1:00 p.m. near Entrance 6, between Burlington and Goldeagle Airsoft. The event will include a ribbon cutting ceremony to honor the opening of the Academy and start of a successful partnership between Gwinnett County Public Schools, Sugarloaf Mills, and Simon Youth Foundation. 

For more information on Sugarloaf Mills, and events taking place at the center, please visit

About Simon
Simon is a global leader in the ownership of premier shopping, dining, entertainment and mixed-use destinations and an S&P 100 company (Simon Property Group, NYSE: SPG). Our properties across North America, Europe and Asia provide community gathering places for millions of people every day and generate billions in annual sales. For more information, visit

About Sugarloaf Mills
Sugarloaf Mills is Georgia’s largest value shopping, entertainment & dining destination. Sugarloaf Mills is a wonderful climate controlled indoor mall with over 180 stores ranging from children’s apparel to shoes to sporting goods.  Find the best deals for what you need at stores including Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH, Neiman Marcus Last Call, NIKE FactoryStore, LEGO Outlet, and Bass Pro Shops. Also, we have many exciting dining options from sit down places such as Shoney's to grab and go choices like Subway and to top it all off, consider making it dinner and a movie at our 18 screen AMC Theatres.  The hottest entertainment destinations can be found at Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament and Atlanta’s largest Dave & Buster’s.   Nestled between Duluth and Lawrenceville, Sugarloaf Mills is located at the junction of I-85 and Sugarloaf Parkway, just 30 minutes from downtown Atlanta.  

About Simon Youth Foundation 
Simon Youth Foundation (SYF) is a national nonprofit committed to helping students who are on the verge of dropping out of high school graduate and pursue post-secondary educational opportunities. SYF works toward this mission by partnering with local public school districts to launch Simon Youth Academies, alternative classroom settings located primarily in Simon malls, and by providing Simon Youth Scholarships to graduating seniors in Simon mall communities. Since its inception, SYF has maintained a 90 percent graduation rate at its 35 Simon Youth Academies in 15 states, helping more than 17,000 students earn their high school diplomas, and has awarded over $17 million in scholarships. Visit to learn more.

About Gwinnett County Public Schools 
Gwinnett County Public Schools is Georgia’s largest school district and the 12th largest school system in the nation. It serves nearly 180,000 students in grades K-12 at 140 schools. Gwinnett County Public Schools is recognized as an outstanding school district. It is a three-time finalist (2009, 2010, and 2014) and two-time winner (2010 and 2014) of the Broad Prize for Urban Education, designating GCPS as one of the nation’s top urban school districts. More recently, GCPS earned kudos as an “Outstanding Great District for Great Teachers”, a College Board Advanced Placement District of the Year, and as a top employer by Forbes Magazine.


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