Students from eight National Christian School Association (NCSA) schools attended the 2022 Presidential Leadership Institute July 10-16, hosted by York University. With 39 student participants and 17 sponsors representing schools in Alabama, Florida, Kentucky, Oklahoma, Tennessee, and Texas, the campus was blessed by the week-long training and leadership program. The Presidential Leadership Institute, now in its eighth year, is a joint effort of York University, Strata Leadership, and the NCSA to help students work in collaboration to address real-world challenges. The themes of faith, service, character, and leadership are woven together to challenge and inspire future leaders for a lifetime.

Student leadership teams experience a week of inspiration provided by CEOs, authors, York University faculty, public servants, and other influential figures. This year’s speakers included Mary Eisenhower, former CEO of People to People International; Dr. Steve Eckman, chancellor at York University, Shad Glass and Thomas Hill of the Kimray Corporation; Amy Mason, executive director of Kimmell Foundation, Tami Heim, president and CEO of Christian Leadership Alliance, Christi Lones, York University history professor; Dr. Billy Lones, provost at York University; Dr. William Ostan, president and founder at Arc of Justice; and Dr. Nathan Mellor, author and leadership expert with Strata Leadership. 

"This week is something that I look forward to every summer," expressed Taylor Horn, sponsor for Alabama Christian Academy. "It’s hard to describe what a week of leadership training is and the community that results from it. However, I am so thankful to have gotten to experience it with these amazing students. Not only students from ACA, but from Christian schools all over the country."

On Tuesday, students enjoyed a trip to Lincoln to tour the state capitol and meet with Greg Adams, former Speaker of the Nebraska Legislature. They were then treated to lunch at the Governor's Residence where Lieutenant Governor Mike Foley spoke to the group and fielded questions by the participants. Thursday, PLI traveled to Abilene, Kans., to visit the Eisenhower Presidential Museum and Library. Students were privileged to receive a tour of the museum from Mary Eisenhower, granddaughter of the president and first lady.

The experience empowers students to make lasting changes on their campuses in the upcoming school year. Each team comes with a solution to improve their school, then work throughout the week on solutions and strategies. The climax of the week is a TED Talk-style presentation from each student team, laying out the plan they will implement at their school.
Garrett Davie Jr. receives the Howard Todd Servant Leadership Scholarship Award.
"PLI you've left me speechless," shared Elliana Bastin, Foundation Christian Academy student and PLI participant. "I learned that you can be a great leader even while being an introvert and that you have to move outside your comfort zone to grow. I experienced both of these things this week and I felt the presence of God working through every single person here."

The week ended with a banquet to celebrate the week of hard work. The evening was especially meaningful to Allison Horsford from Mt. Dora Christian Academy and Garrett Davie Jr. from Alabama Christian Academy. The students were recognized with the Howard Todd Servant Leadership Scholarship Award. The full-tuition scholarship to York University is given annually to the PLI students who best demonstrate leadership and character.

Sixteen York University students and alumni served as mentors throughout the week of PLI. Of the NCSA schools in attendance were Alabama Christian Academy (Montgomery, Ala.), Clarksville Christian Academy (Clarksville, Tenn.), Foundation Christian Academy (Bowling Green, Ky.), Lubbock Christian School (Lubbock, Texas), Mount Dora Christian Academy (Mt. Dora, Fla.), Oklahoma Christian Academy (Edmond, Okla.), Snook Christian Academy (Foley, Ala.), and Wichita Christian School (Wichita Falls, Texas).