Curriculum & Student Experience

COLA strives to build a strong pipeline of effective leaders by selecting and convening a high-caliber cohort of like-minded high school students. COLA attracts the most promising young people who have the capabilities and interest in contributing to a stronger future.

The intensive six-day COLA experience sets itself apart from other high school leadership programs because of its caliber of guest speakers, one-of-a-kind culture, interactive and individualized curriculum and actionable learning outcomes.

Students develop their leadership effectiveness by participating in professionally facilitated training sessions, interactive team challenges, and substantial discussions with peers and proven community leaders. At COLA, students will explore and analyze the following topics:

  • Personal leadership and individual strengths
  • Collaboration and teamwork
  • Ethical and value based decision-making
  • Community impact
  • Visioning and Goal Setting

COLA’s outcome oriented curriculum fluidly applies the concepts of ‘True North: Discover Your Authentic Leadership by Bill George, Peter Sims, and David Gergen over the course of six days. Students will:

  • Complete the Gallup StrengthsFinder Assessment (cost covered by COLA)
  • Receive professionally facilitated strengths training customized to their assessment results
  • Engage in interactive activities and peer-to-peer discussions on important topics and civic issues that help frame their understanding of leadership
  • Become more self-aware through thoughtful reflection
  • Develop actionable goals for their pursuits after the program
  • Learn from proven and highly respected Central Ohio leaders

“I have learned so much about authentic leadership and that age does not matter in leadership, nor does title.  I can and will make a difference in our school and community.”  – Nathan Minns, Dublin Jerome, 2015 COLA Alumnus



“In the past few days I’ve met with CEOs of major companies, a man who partook in the early nurturing of corporations like (and including) Apple and Microsoft, and individual who used his love of music to unite communities and raise funds for causes bigger than himself, and roughly 50 children from nearby neighborhoods who filled my heart with love.” – Ally Hammer, 2015 COLA Alumnus