When Lake Highlands High School’s special education department hosted its second annual Wildcat Games in April, the high school B field bleachers were full of students cheering for their classmates dealing with daily physical and emotional obstacles.
Behind the scenes, quietly serving, were Chick-fil-A Leaders, a new student organization on campus. Chick-fil-A Leaders painted faces, snapped photos, manned the water station, helped make snow cones and distributed high-fives.
The Chick-fil-A Leader Academy is offered at high schools all over the country, but this is the first year Lake Highlands has participated. Students are recommended by a teacher or staff member based on their work ethic, desire to impact the community and leadership potential. Thirteen kids were selected in LHHS’ first year.
“Our goal is to develop student leaders with a desire to impact our community through action,” said chemistry teacher Kelsey Clinton, who leads the group with Cat Clayton. “It’s so rewarding for them to see the fruit of their ideas and hard work as it benefits our community.”
In addition to pitching in at Wildcat Games, LHHS’s Chick-fil-A Leaders packed boxes for soldiers and wrote thank you cards to people who’ve had a positive impact on their lives. They led a cleaning day at Heart House, an afterschool program for immigrant and refugee children in Vickery Meadows run in apartments turned to classrooms. More projects are planned for the fall.
LHHS’s Chick-fil-A Leaders are sponsored by the Cityline Chick-fil-A at Renner and Plano Road in Richardson this year, but in 2019-20 they’ll be supported by the TimberCreek store at Skillman and Northwest Highway. Chick-fil-A provides curriculum, including “labs,” which help Clinton and Clayton teach leadership skills like teamwork and communication.
This year’s Chick-fil-A Leaders are Vaniche Washington, Bilal Shahab, Grace Paul, Jackson Foose, Tierra Flowers, Sindy Espinal Hernandez, Jesus Alvarez, D’arius Lynch, Joseph Arthur, Nathan O’Connor, Kiesha Hamilton, Angel Vences, and Olayinka Alimi.
If you’d like more information, email Kelsey.Clinton@risd.org.