By Jessica Nguyen and Brian Pham
Although Chick-fil-A is known for its chicken sandwiches, they also run a leadership academy, which has returned to Fountain Valley High School after being gone for three years.
The Chick-fil-A Leadership Academy chapter was started at FVHS in 2015 but was let go after the 2017-2018 school year due to not having a faculty facilitator.
“I had a lot on my plate at that point…it was pretty overwhelming, so I let it go. No other teacher took it on, so I decided to bring it back this year,” Jane Springer, the program’s advisor and FVHS math teacher, said.
The Chick-fil-A Leader Academy’s mission is to develop leadership skills while giving back to the community through three major projects throughout the year: the Big Thank You, Do Good December and an Impact Project.
“For the Big Thank You, club members thank someone who has had [made] an impact in their life,” Springer said. “For Do Good December, we have done things, like make Christmas shoeboxes to be shipped to needy areas in the world or conducted a drive for those in the community who were in need.”
The Impact Project is a large event that takes place during the spring. In the past, the leadership academy hosted a staff versus students basketball tournament to fundraise money.
“For the Impact Project, for three years in a row, we had a staff vs. students basketball game in the gym. Each year, the gym was packed and the last time we had the game, we raised over $3000, which we donated to the Orangewood Foundation, which supports underprivileged youth,” Springer said.
Students who join the club receive many benefits, such as learning and developing strong leadership skills, and also realize the importance of small acts of kindness. Together as a club, members invest time and energy into creating a lasting impact on their community and those around them.
The club has opened up new opportunities for its students outside of leadership and service as well.
“At the end of one year, one of the Chick-fil-A employees offered one of our students an internship as they were so impressed with their dedication to the club!” Springer said.
However, this year, due to COVID-19, the Academy has to adjust to the new circumstances. Meetings are held on Zoom, where members watch and discuss Leader Lab videos together. The club is still brainstorming ideas to serve the community at this time.
Springer and the rest of the students who are in the program are grateful for the opportunity to bring it back to FVHS.
“This program would not be possible without Chick-fil-A on Beach Boulevard and Blake Wohlgemuth, their CEO. This location invests money every year into the program directly from their store and have been supportive from day one,” Springer said. “We are so grateful to them for this investment in the future of the community.”
This program only takes about 30 students each year, who join through an application process. While applications have closed for this year, students who are interested can follow their Instagram @fvhs_cfala to stay updated and wait until next year to apply.