Trojan Tempo Staff Writer
TROY — Chick-fil-A, the widely-popular fast food chain with the entertaining advertisements featuring cows telling humans to “eat mor chikin,” tried something very new during the 2013-2014 school year that is designed to help students across the US.
The Chick-fil-A Leader Academy — originating in Atlanta, Ga. — is a national program to help high school students become better leaders in their community. It is focused on impact through action, and is a seven-month curriculum that is taught once per month in school for approximately one hour per month. It is a video-driven curriculum with an online portal for planning, scheduling, and program resources. It can be taught during or after school for up to any thirty students that are in grades ninth through 12th.
“The program engages students with a monthly ‘Leader Lab’ focusing on important leadership skills,” Rosy Harvey—a staff member of the Leader Academy — stated in an email. “Throughout the program, students also plan three service projects, the last of which is called the ‘Impact Project,’ which is the culmination of the program. The Impact Project is student-planned and student-led.”
The Impact Projects brings people of a community — students, parents, teachers, and even other members of the community — together to do something beneficial that positively impacts that particular community. Impact Projects from the past include events such as creating a special needs carnival, a senior prom for senior citizens, a school-wide special olympics, and bringing hope and happiness to two students whose mother was suffering from stage IV breast cancer. Many more Impact Projects that have been completed, each making a difference in their community no matter how small.
The Leader Academy focuses on many topics such as vision, values, servant leadership, teamwork, communication, innovation and impact. Students can learn and then use these in life to be good leaders in whatever they do.
Though many have not heard of it, the Leader Academy is growing in participants. When it originated, there were only 23 schools involved and since then, the number has grown to more than 600; over 1,000 are expected to be involved in the next few years. The Leader Academy is clearly a very successful movement.
Schools can join if the Chick-fil-A owner/operator is willing to sponsor the school’s participation and the $4,000 program is fully-funded through other generous sponsorships. The main focus is not the cost of the program, but the impact.
Troy High School will be participating in the Leader Academy during the 2016-2017 school year. Students signed up last year and applicants will be informed of their acceptance on Friday, Oct. 14, and the first official event will be on Thursday, Oct. 20, from 11:15 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. Lunch will be provided for participating students. The meetings will be held during the school day, and will take place once per month.
Mrs Kennedy, a math teacher at THS, is one of the four staff members that will review the applications. She will be joined by Mr. Burgbacher, Mr. Rasey and Mrs. Weaver as mentors for the members of the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy.
“It really was spurred by Mr. Burgbacher, and I guess he just got in touch with the right people,” Mrs. Kennedy said. When asked why THS students should participate in the Leader Academy, Kennedy said, “It’s a wonderful place. We’re very involved with the community, and we have a lot of great students that are perfect for something like this.”
When it comes down to the Impact Project — the idea still far from being conceived — Mrs. Kennedy thinks that THS will do just fine. She said that with the right 30 students, THS can easily come up with an Impact Project that will make a positive change in the community.
Students are encouraged to collaborate with their school and join the Leader Academy. Not only will the school learn the listed items about leadership, but they will get closer to each other and the community, and learn that it feels great to give after years of getting.
Blake Morgan is a Trojan Tempo Staff Writer