July 21, 2022
Leadership Academy focuses on service-learning
While many teens and tweens are enjoying the sights and sounds of summer break, 55 rising seventh and eighth graders at Fort Couch Middle School are developing their skills at Upper St. Clair’s week-long Leadership Academy.
Held July 18-22, 2022, the Leadership Academy at Fort Couch is led by faculty facilitators – Mr. Andrew Bowers, Ms. Eliza Luxbacher, Mr. Thomas Hunsberger, and Mr. Michael DaVia.
“Leadership Academy is an exploration of what leadership looks like, sounds like, and means to us — both individually and holistically, when working in teams,” Mr. DaVia said. “The teacher leaders provide the structure for students to emerge in aspects of leadership in and out of our school buildings.”
An important component of the program is service-learning where students practice and model the core values of leadership that are explored throughout the week, including productivity, teamwork, reflection, commitment, openness, integrity, honesty, excellence, risk-taking and courage.
“Through these service-learning opportunities, we hope that our students experience the core values of leadership that we emphasize throughout our leadership curriculum,” Mr. DaVia said. “We want students to be exposed to communities outside of Upper St. Clair, and we want students to see that they can be active participants in creating meaningful change.”
Students had the opportunity to volunteer at World Vision, an international humanitarian aid organization, and Hello Neighbor, a local organization that supports recently resettled refugee and immigrant families.
“We want our students to become engaged in the aspect of service learning,” Mr. DaVia said. “At each location, students are working in a collaborative format with the organizational staff to complete tasks such as donation organization, creation of greeting cards, and packing items for individuals in need.”
The Fort Couch Middle School Leadership Academy includes both individual and teamwork in order to develop self-knowledge and leadership skills. Students participate in team-building activities that challenge them to see how they can have an impact in the world’s community.
As Upper St. Clair students matriculate from Fort Couch Middle School to Upper St. Clair High School, they have the opportunity to participate in the USCHS Leadership Academy.