This August marked the inaugural session of ELEVATE — a week-long “leadership lab” for outstanding high school students, hosted at Gordon College. The result of months of planning and dedicated work across campus, the program was designed to engage a selective cohort of promising teens in real-world, Christ-centered leadership training, focused on putting their skills to work for the common good.
The program’s 31 global participants came to ELEVATE from the U.S.A., Brazil, South Korea and China. Over the course of the week, these students worked together in small groups to prepare and present community enrichment project proposals to ELEVATE staff. Five proposals were granted seed funding to make the proposal a reality, including an initiative to use theater to teach communication skills to adults with disabilities in Tyler, Texas, and a poverty education and social inclusion effort in Sao Paulo, Brazil.
Students also participated daily in seminars with top leaders in the government, business and nonprofit worlds, including Ewan Copeland (vice chairman of Citibank Global Asia), film producer Mike Flaherty (founder of Walden Media), and Cindy S. Moelis (director of the President’s Commission on White House Fellowships).
Rachel Ashley ’13, director of ELEVATE, was astonished by the caliber of ELEVATE’s first cohort. “The ELEVATE 2013 students blew me out of the water. They were high energy and up for anything that we threw at them.”