Incarnate Word Academy
Houston, TX, 77002
Growing Tomorrow’s Leaders
Incarnate Word Academy’s Young Leaders Program is a Launchpad for Future Success
When it comes to experiential learning opportunities, it’s hard to beat Incarnate Word Academy’s Young Leaders Program. YLP, as it’s known around the Academy, offers four years of progressive classes that take students on a leadership journey, helping them discover that there are different ways to lead, as well as finding their own leadership style. The goal is to help them become bold, authentic servant leaders, who seek solutions driven by the values of compassion, kindness and faith.
Every IWA freshman takes Leading With Character and Academics, a course that focuses on instilling in students the importance of empathy, courage and integrity. It shows them to define their values and lean into challenges. It also offers organizational skills training and teaches them to plan and prioritize, skills that set them up for success in high school and beyond.
Through Leading With Service, our students are encouraged to looks for ways to serve their community. One of our classes recently developed a morning program for middle school girls focused on confidence building and anti-bullying. The girls visited Mary Magdalene and Assumption Catholic schools and led the students there through a series of workshops and activities. They built the program based on the skills they learned in their Leading With Service course.
Everyone in the school loves it when Leading With Business launches a new student-run company. Through this hands-on experience, students research the type of company they want to create, and identify a charity to which they want to donate the business profits. Students write a business plan, test products, and develop marketing concepts prior to launching it schoolwide. What’s Poppin?, the most recent company, was a snack business selling several varieties of popcorn – all handmade by Leading With Business students. Over the last three years, IWA students have donated more than $3,000 from student-run businesses to nonprofit organizations.
And Leading With Personal Finance allows students to get a keen understanding of money matters. They are taught personal budgeting and income planning, using real-world instances that resonate with their lives, such as paying for college. They are asked to consider funding options such as earnings from part-time jobs, grants, loans or scholarships. In budgeting exercises, they’ve given the opportunity to decide what their priorities are, and how they can afford everything from rent to entertainment.
“YLP is among our most popular programs,” said Andrea Smith, M.Ed., LPC, NCC, IWA’s principal.
“It is an opportunity for them to develop the heart of a true leader and empower them to take on the challenges of the 21st century.”
Nearly a third of the graduating class of 2021 earned a Distinguished Leader Designation on their diplomas, a designation unique to IWA.
Each girl who earns it must take all four of the YLP courses, assume a leadership role in one of IWA’s clubs or organizations, and complete a capstone project.
“There’s no one way to be a leader,” said Smith. “And we love that our students get to discover the way they want to take on that role.”
- Year Founded: 1873
- Grades: 9-12