Serve Mor People: CCA High Schoolers Put Faith into Action through Chick-fil-A program

By: Alyssa Mendez
CCA is blessed to be one of the few schools in Broward County that offers the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy™ to high school students. Learn about this unique service-oriented program made possible this school year by the generosity of Chick-fil-A Coral Springs, and plan to attend our student-organized Day of Service event on April 22!

“But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant.” –Luke 22:26

From the youngest age, CCA students are encouraged to share the love of Jesus by serving others with the gifts and passions God has placed in their hearts – whether that’s through performing jazz classics for the elderly at a nearby senior center, collecting gift cards, books, and other needed items for nearby schools, or distributing care packages and food to those experiencing homelessness.

We may live in a broken, hurting world, but rather than standing idly by and helplessly observing the needs around us, we can choose to respond and join Christ on His mission to redeem:

“We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us…” –2 Corinthians 5:20 (NIV)

Making an impact through action is also a core value of the famed fast-food chain Chick-fil-A®, which provides leadership training to high school students centered around this idea. They believe that this age group is the answer to our world needing more leaders who transform their communities.


Chick-fil-A Leader Academy™ (CLA) is one of the largest leadership-specific high school programs in America and is made possible through the generosity of local Chick-fil-A restaurant operators. Samuel Poeana, a former CCA parent and operator of the Chick-fil-A Coral Springs restaurant, approached CCA and offered to sponsor a CLA for its high school students this school year, for the second consecutive year.

“We’ve been a Calvary family for over 20 years, and CLA was another opportunity to invest into the students at CCA and inspire them to lead and serve their local communities. It’s all about investing into the next generation,” said Samuel Poeana.

Sam’s son, Daniel, who is a CCA alumnus (Class of 2010), plays an active role overseeing the execution of CLA at CCA. CCA is blessed to be one of the few schools in Broward County that has been selected to participate in this program, which comes at no cost to the school or its students.
CCA is blessed to be one of the few schools in Broward County that has been selected to participate in this program, which comes at no cost to the school or its students.
The group of 25 students who were selected to participate this school year (after completing an application) participate in monthly “Leader Labs” where they learn timeless leadership principles. This year’s faculty advisor, Mrs. Michelle Robinson, executes the turn-key lesson plans and video-driven curriculum while also facilitating discussion among students during each lunchtime meeting.

“I just love being a part of a group that’s like-minded towards a common goal of helping out our community,” said Carly Rossi, an 11th grade student in this year’s CLA class. “In every meeting we have, I feel the creative energy moving throughout the room. Everyone actually wants to be here and it really makes the best environment to learn together.”


CCA’s CLA students are challenged to put the content they learn into action by programming multiple service initiatives. The first two projects the students decided to program involved packaging children’s books and delivering them to Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital as well as collecting toys, crayons, and treats to gift patients and healthcare workers at the hospital.

Their final project is known as the Student Impact Project and serves as the culmination of the program. The group has decided to plan a “CCA Day of Service” the morning of Saturday, April 22 comprised of various service projects throughout Broward County that people can choose from:

    • Organizing a mini color run event at CCA’s sister schools
    • Playing bingo at a senior citizen home
    • Cleaning trash from the beach
    • Serving meals to individuals experiencing food insecurity

“My hope is that the participants not only have fun, but also understand how a small portion of their time can make a big impact on someone else’s life,” said Morgan Smith, an 11th grade student in this year’s CLA class.

This event is open to all and qualifies for community service hours! If you’re interested in participating, complete this form to express your interest. The CLA students organizing this event encourage you to sign up for the project you feel most passionate about.


Our prayer is that these students would inspire you to also steward the gifts, resources, and time God has given you to extend the love of Christ to those who are struggling in our community. Anyone can be a servant leader like Jesus, regardless of their age or social status.

“One doesn’t necessarily need to hold a specific office to have and develop leadership skills, because good leadership is displayed in one’s character and actions rather than a title alone,” said Morgan. “God is growing me as a leader as I have learned not to be afraid to step out of my comfort zone to accomplish positive things and serve others as God has called us to do.”

Good news! The Chick-fil-A Leader Academy™ will be offered again for the 2023-24 school year in partnership with Chick-fil-A Coral Springs. Current CCA students in 8th-11th grade interested in participating can click here to apply. Students selected can earn upwards to 50 community service hours. And yes, free food is also a perk. 🐮

“... Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” –Matthew 25:40
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