Twenty high school students from Shawnee County will participate in the inaugural High School Leadership Academy (HSLA) June 11 – 17, 2017 at Washburn University. Made possible by a grant from the Topeka Community Foundation, the academy is a collaboration between the Foundation, Washburn University and the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce.

Students will live on the Washburn campus for the week and will be guided through a comprehensive program that will introduce concepts from the Kansas Leadership Center, including awareness and application of the four competencies of Diagnosing the Situation, Managing Self, Energizing Others, and Intervening Skillfully. The mission of HSLA is to develop leadership skills in high school students and create a greater awareness about ways they, personally, can influence positive change in their communities.

“This grant maximizes our investment in youth leadership by partnering with Washburn University and the Greater Topeka Chamber of Commerce,” said Marsha Pope, President of the Topeka Community Foundation. “As we look to develop home-grown talent in Topeka, we believe this grant opens doors for collaborative work in finding opportunities to benefit our community.”

Throughout the week, students will experience site visits, tours, interactive presentations and guest speakers. Each day will include social activities as well as time for processing in small groups.  Peer mentors from the Washburn Leadership Institute will help facilitate the academy.

“Initiatives like the High School Leadership Academy allow our students to practice and refine their skills,” said Dr. Michael Gleason, director of the Washburn University Leadership Institute. “These partnerships help foster networks that benefit their education and future career goals.”

High school student participants were nominated for the academy by school administrators and had to submit an application. Applicants were notified the last week of April that they had been selected to participate in the program by a public tapping ceremony. Katelyn Rollins, a senior at Washburn University and the High School Leadership Academy Fellow, along with other current Washburn Leadership Institute students serving as peer mentors for the summer program, went to each high school to publicly award selected recipients with their acceptance letter.

“It is so special to know that I was nominated by my high school administration and selected by Washburn University to be a participant in the Leadership Academy. I simply cannot wait to be on campus and experience the energy and vibe of Washburn.” said Sarah Carson, Hayden High School. “I am looking forward to meeting the other participants, instructors, and Topeka Leaders. Topeka holds a special place in my heart. I want to be a part of the positive change in this community. Let’s make it happen!”

Participation in the High School Leadership Academy is limited to rising high school juniors in Shawnee County. Selection for participation will occur through a nomination process each year with up to 25 students being accepted.

Editor’s Note: List of 2017 participants.

High School First Name Last Name
Hayden Catholic High School Sarah Carson
Hayden Catholic High School Caroline Setter
Highland Park High School Makiyah Boyd
Highland Park High School Chamiel Thompson
Highland Park High School Hayley Campbell-Zirkel
Rossville Junior-Senior High School Caila Hill
Rossville Junior-Senior High School Stacey Keithline
Shawnee Heights High School Jack Hoytal
Shawnee Heights High School Nicole Bloomquist
Shawnee Heights High School Alondra Retana
Shawnee Heights High School Taegon Black
Seaman High School Austin Kruse
Topeka High School Tionna German
Topeka High School Caliyah Cobb
Topeka High School Nola Limon
Topeka West High School Kiora Brooks
Topeka West High School Gabriella Rivera
Washburn Rural High School Benjamin Nutter
Washburn Rural High School Nadia Jackson
Washburn Rural High School Leyton Brunner