Chick-fil-A Leader Academy fostering future of leadership


Photo Courtesy Coppell ISD Career and Technical Education

CHS9 students selected as members of the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy pose for a picture after their kick-off meeting on Sept. 26. The Chick-fil-A Leader Academy fosters leadership skills in high school students through Leader Labs and service projects.

Avani Kashyap, Staff Writer

The first thought that comes to mind when someone says Chick-fil-A is probably the fast food chain’s famous chicken sandwich or sauce. But few are aware of the Chick-fil-A Foundation and its leadership initiative, the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy.

Established in 2018, the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy is the nation’s largest leadership-specific high school program with more than 27,500 members participating in 900 schools across 38 states. By supporting the growth of education, the program aims to reduce homelessness and hunger in America.

CHS9 educators first learned of the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy at the Career and Technical Association of Texas (CTAT) conference in San Antonio in February 2019. Principles of Health Science teachers Victoria Reyes and Bill Borowski were inspired by the creative and leadership-oriented approach of the program and decided to apply for it.

“[The application process] was pretty quick and fairly painless,” Reyes said. “We filled out the application with our information and Clinton’s (the program coordinator from Chick-fil-A) information and Chick-fil-A approved us.”

During the summer, students signed up for the health science endorsement went through their own application process where they were asked to define what a leader was and identify an inspirational person in their lives. Thirty students were chosen to be members of the program by Reyes and Borowski. The club meets once a month at CHS9 to engage in Leader Labs as well as complete service projects.

Along with encouraging community service, the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy presents leadership through the lens of their slogan ‘Impact through Action.’

 “The most important thing is, not only can you use your voice in leadership, but you mostly use your actions,” freshman member Lillian Egger said. “I’ve learned the leaders are mostly the quiet ones. I have a lot of classmates that aren’t talkative, but they always inspire people.”

Throughout the year, the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy funded service projects to make the goal of ‘Impact through Action’ a reality. 

In September, the fast food restaurant chain paired with Operation Gratitude to help students create and send care packages to U.S. veterans. During ‘Do Good December’, students completed service projects for those in their own communities. CHS9 Leadership Academy members decided to utilize the opportunity to create care packages for the homeless in the area.

For member Saiya Patel, the club enhances their love for service by bolstering their leadership abilities.

“I’ve always loved community service and I get to meet new people when doing it,” Patel said.  “I’ve definitely learned presentation, leadership and speaking skills, and enjoy getting to help others with the friends that I’ve made in leadership.”

In addition to funding service projects, the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy creates educational videos and activities that are presented during the monthly Leader Labs. The videos also emphasize service-related ideals such as teamwork, innovation and communication while focusing on practical application of learning.

“Every meeting, we go through the videos and learn different skills,” Patel said. “They take you to different places around the world and put everything into perspective.” 

Through the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy, students have been able to create relationships with each other and the community.

“It was totally worth it,” Eggers said. “I took the class with a few of my friends and it’s really fun, because not only are we learning about leadership, we are learning about it together.” 

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