​More than 40 young leaders from five states converged on the York College campus for a week of learning and development at the Presidential Leadership Institute, July 10-16.

​Students from Christian high schools in Alabama, Florida, Missouri, Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma attended the weeklong institute on the York College campus. The event brought together thought leaders from industry, education, political, and ministry spheres to discuss what makes a great leader. Student teams from each school put together an impact plan for the coming year at their school and presented their ideas at the end of the week.

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Highlights of the week included touring the Nebraska State capitol building and meeting with Senator Greg Adams, followed by lunch with Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley. The group also met with Mary Eisenhower, CEO of People to People International and granddaughter of President Eisenhower, for a tour of the Eisenhower Presidential Museum and Library in Abilene, Kansas.

“These students came to campus with a limited definition in their minds of what leadership is. That idea broadened and expanded so that by the end of the week they were empowered to create a plan of action for their school and to confidently present that plan to their peers and school sponsors. They were inspired to go home and put that plan into action,” said Maegan Detlefs, event coordinator for the York College Admissions Office.

“Watching the participants develop from Monday to Friday was just phenomenal,” agreed Emily Lutz, student activities director.

Participant Emily Leto attends Mount Dora Christian Academy in Mount Dora, Fla. The institute helped her learn about her leadership strengths and weakness and provided her with a network of leaders and mentors. “PLI has prepared me to be a leader when I get back to my school because it has given me more confidence and the drive to know that I can [lead] and I can make a difference in the world. Even someone my age…I can be someone who makes an impact,” she said.

Participant Colton Kasarjian from Alabama Christian Academy in Montgomery also felt ready to make a difference. He described PLI as “one of the greatest experiences of my life” and encouraged others to participate in the future. “Meeting all these leaders from other states helps you to grow into a stronger person spiritually and as a leader,” he said.

​PLI is a joint venture between York College, Strata Leadership, and the National Christian School Association. For more information, see www.presidentialleadershipinstitute.com.