Hahnville High School’s (HHS) Chick-fil-A Leader Academy group completed its Do Good Service project earlier this month, resulting in numerous boxes of donated toiletry items, clothing and toys for students at Queensborough Elementary School in Shreveport.
The Chick-fil-A Leader Academy program bills itself as one of the nation’s largest high school leadership programs, boasting an impressive 200,000 students having passed through the program. Each high school’s individual program is sponsored by a local Chick-fil-A franchise owner, along with national consulting firm ADDO. Students involved in each Chick-fil-A Leader Academy group organize and execute three service projects each year.
“We are partnered with the Chick-fil-A in Kenner; essentially the mission of the program is to teach high school students how to become servant leaders, which fulfills Chick-fil-A’s mission and vision as a company,” HHS Spanish teacher Kristyn Charlie, who acts as HHS’ Chick fil-A Leader sponsor, said. “Every month the students engage in ‘Leader Labs’ to learn different aspects of being a servant leader.”
HHS’ Chick-fil-A Leader group, which currently includes around 25 students, has members choose their own local service projects. The students first learned about Queensborough Elementary School following Charlie’s own recent involvement with the Shreveport school through an unrelated Louisiana Department of Education leadership program she participated in. It was through the state program that she first met Queensborough Elementary’s Principal Marco French, who told Charlie and other educators his school’s plight.
“He told us the story of some of the hardships and challenges that his school is facing, and how he overcame them,” the 15-year HHS educator Charlie said. “Throughout the story, he mentioned to us about how impoverished his students are, and the amount of donations he receives to be able to give the students the things they have.”
Queensborough Elementary’s principal, Charlie said, had been spending money out of his own salary to ensure children at his school had coats each year.
After discussions with her students, the group decided to make Queensborough Elementary the focus of their December Do Good Service project. They first found out what supplies the school and its students needed, and then began a drive to collect toiletry items, cleaning supplies, clothing and toys from students and St. Charles Parish residents. The local Kenner Chick-fil-A offered to help by donating an incentive for participating HHS students – bring in five items including one new toy for the drive, and participating students would receive a free Chick-fil-A lunch.
“We received so many donations from our student body,” Charlie said. “This project really funneled into something really large.”
The group received several monetary donations, and one parent hosted a separate drive at her employer Ochsner’s main campus, which resulted in even more donations. A contest was also held amongst HHS administrators, with the administrator contributing the most donated funds for the drive receiving an honorary pie-in-their-face award.
The donated funds were needed when the drive wound down, as the group successfully collected enough supplies to fill 10 large boxes, which they promptly shipped to Queensborough Elementary last week ahead of the Christmas holidays. The school received the goods on Wednesday, Dec. 13, with the goods set to be distributed soon by Principal Marco French.
“I was very overcome with emotions,” Charlie said following the success of the Chick fil-A Leader group’s donation drive. “Our students, our community really rose to the call, and I couldn’t be prouder of what we did.”