‘Im­pact through ac­tion’

Din­wid­die stu­dents par­tic­i­pate in Chick-fil-A Leader Academy

The Progress-Index Weekend - - FRONT PAGE - By Kelsey Re­ichen­berg Staff Writer

DIN­WID­DIE — Stu­dents at Din­wid­die High School are de­vel­op­ing lead­er­ship skills through a new pro­gram, the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy, spon­sored by the Chick-fil-A on South­park Boule­vard in Colo­nial Heights.

The Chick-fil-A Leader Academy is of­fered at se­lect schools na­tion­wide and fo­cuses on “im­pact through ac­tion,” ac­cord­ing to the pro­gram’s web­site. At each par­tic­i­pat­ing school, 30 stu­dents in grades 9-12 are cho­sen to en­gage in monthly “leader labs” that fo­cus on im­por­tant lead­er­ship skills they later use to cre­ate stu­dent-led com­mu­ni­ty­im­pact projects.

“It is to the understanding that stu­dents will gain knowl­edge about be­com­ing a leader and mak­ing sure that they un­der­stand the im­por­tance of ser­vice projects, to give back and to honor those who have re­ally helped them in some type of way,” said DHS busi­ness teacher and Chick-fil-A

Leader Academy spon­sor Pinkie Hall. “[It’s] teach­ing them lead­er­ship, hav­ing them get in­volved, it’s hav­ing them to cre­ate, in­spire and en­gage as well.”

In Septem­ber, the academy held its first meet­ing, which was at­tended by Chick-fil-A fran­chise owner-op­er­a­tor Sta­cie An­der­son. Stu­dents en­joyed a Chick-fil-A din­ner as they com­pleted their first leader lab, which started with a video that ex­plained the as­signed project.

Then they broke into teams and com­piled care pack­ages for de­ployed sol­diers, con­sist­ing of Band-Aids, mints, tis­sues, Chap­Stick and other items, as well as a thank you note hand­writ­ten by the stu­dents. All the ma­te­ri­als needed for the project were pro­vided by the com­pany’s head­quar­ters in At­lanta, Ge­or­gia.

By the end of the school year, stu­dent par­tic­i­pants will have com­pleted seven leader labs that were in­tended to in­still and en­hance lead­er­ship skills. They also will have to com­plete one large ser­vice project for Din­wid­die High School.

Hall hopes the pro­gram’s se­nior par­tic­i­pants will gain skills they can take with them to col­lege while the un­der­class­men develop con­fi­dence in their abil­i­ties from work­ing along­side older stu­dents.

“I think it’s re­ally good for our se­niors who are about to grad­u­ate in terms of lead­er­ship,” she said. “Then they won’t be so shy about join­ing things when they get to col­lege. Be­cause when you first get to col­lege, you don’t want to get in­volved in any­thing be­cause it’s al­ways the older peo­ple, and if you’re used to do­ing some­thing, you’ll want to get in­volved too.

“It’s go­ing to be good lead­er­ship train­ing,” she added. “The ex­pe­ri­ence is go­ing to be good, and even for the stu­dents that’s com­ing be­hind, the ninth, tenth and eleventh graders that’s in it, they’re go­ing to be able to step up with­out be­ing asked for a lot of things.”

[CON­TRIB­UTED PHOTO]

From left, Din­wid­die High School busi­ness Teacher Pinkie Hall and Colo­nial Heights Chick-fil-A fran­chise owner-op­er­a­tor Sta­cie An­der­son re­cruit stu­dents for the school’s new Chick-fil-A Lead­er­ship Academy dur­ing lunch at Din­wid­die High School.

[KELSEY RE­ICHEN­BERG/PROGRESS-IN­DEX.COM]

Stu­dent par­tic­i­pants in Din­wid­die High School’s Chick­fil-A Lead­er­ship Academy cre­ate a “While I’m Alive” board as part of their Septem­ber project, which in­cludes items they wish to ac­com­plish dur­ing their life­time.

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