CCLP/BRITTANY FHOLER - Students assembled 75 bags of lentil soup to be donated to a local food bank at the first meeting for the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy held Monday evening at the Copperas Cove High School.

Students participate in Chick-fil-A academy

Cove Leader-Press
Dozens of students from 9th to 12th grade kicked off the first meeting of the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy in a classroom at Copperas Cove High School on Monday after school.
The Chick-fil-A Leader Academy is a seven-month program aimed at developing leadership skills in teenagers while also focusing on community service, with the program having two service projects during the year and one big project at the end of the year.
Each program is also fully-funded through sponsorships from local Chick-fil-A operators, Chick-fil-A, Inc. and Coca-Cola to cover the annual $4,000 per school tuition. There are nearly 600 schools involved in the Leader Academy in 2016 with an estimated 1,000 schools expected to be involved in coming years, according to their website.
“Chick Fil A has taken an interest in young people and recognizing that the future lies with high school students,” said Stephen Kennedy, owner and operator of the Copperas Cove Chick-fil-A location. “So, they’ve really targeted high school students and kind of said ‘How can we partner with schools? How can we partner with communities to develop leadership skills within high school students?’”
Kennedy said he approached the school district and Russell Porterfield, CCHS Director of Career and College Readiness, and asked to partner with CCHS. Porterfield agreed and the teachers that responded to the email sent out by Porterfield were Donna Brewer and David Gaddy.
Brewer said she wanted to be a part of the program because she believes that it is worthwhile. Students need to get involved in the community, Brewer said.
“I’m excited about the leadership through action, that the kids will do service projects and see how they can do service in their community and make a difference,” Porterfield said.
The application process for students involved signing up online and filling out a questionnaire, Brewer said. Of the 37 that applied, only 30 were selected.
The group will meet once a month to participate in “Leader Labs”, where they watch videos provided by the Leader Academy to learn about the specific leadership traits and characteristics, Kennedy said. They will also spend time preparing for their community service projects and end of year projects.
At Monday’s meeting, the phrase repeated over and over again was “Impact through action” which ties into the idea of servant leadership that Chick-fil-A embraces.
“We can talk about leadership all we want but at the end of the day it comes down to action,” Kennedy said. “That’s what this is primarily about. Giving the opportunity to go out and actually do things in the community that I guess puts in to action.”
During Monday’s meeting, students watched videos about previous service projects completed and listened to speakers give lessons on leadership.
One of the speakers in the video was Kevin Scott, co-founder of Addo, who shared the reason it is called the Leader Academy as opposed to the Leadership Academy. Leadership is about the process and Chick-fil-A wants to focus on the people, he said.
Another lesson Scott

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