The Central Ohio Leadership Academy

Central Ohio Leadership Academy, also known as COLA, is the premier leadership development experience for Central Ohio’s most promising high school leaders. COLA provides a high quality, high impact experiences for our most promising high school student leaders.

About the Program

About the Program

Program Overview

The Central Ohio Leadership Academy (COLA) is a high-impact, year-round leadership development experience designed for rising high school junior and senior student leaders throughout Central Ohio.

Previous Speakers

COLA hosts a high-impact experience where students, university representatives. and other community leaders come together to develop leadership skills and discuss change in the community. Each student has the unique opportunity to interact with the community leaders on an individual basis..

The Alumni Experience

COLA is more than a one week experience for these students. After the COLA Experience, the COLA Alumni Committee plans multiple events throughout the year to continually engage COLA Alumni.

Register Today!

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.

Philosophy & Culture

Philosophy & Culture

COLA students are not just the leaders of tomorrow; they are the leaders of today.

Every COLA student is passionate and has the capability to be a prominent leader today, not just tomorrow. There are examples all across the world of young people leading and positively impacting the world we live in. COLA individualizes its curriculum to best develop students to be the leaders they can be today with an understanding of how to be an even greater leader tomorrow.

Leaders are not defined by a position or title; leaders are defined by the choices and positive impact they make.

COLA challenge’s student’s to not limit or evaluate their leadership based on holding a position/role in an organization, club, or sports team. COLA emphasizes the intentional hard work and ethical decision making that is required to positively impact the lives of other and the community.

Anyone can lead if they control their POWER.

In COLA, POWER is a loaded word that encompasses five states of being that every person can control. COLA students and alumni are expected to have control of their own POWER every day because it is then that they are able to make the greatest impact.

Being YOU is what makes you great.

COLA has a culture that is accepting of all students no matter their interests, passions, talents, or appearance. COLA promotes authenticity and individuality.

About US

Our Story

Since its founding in 2011 by the New Albany Community Foundation in collaboration with The Ohio State University, COLA has impacted the lives of more than 350 students from 86 different high schools throughout central Ohio.

The experience provides a unique participatory experience that cultivates leadership, ethical decision-making, self-reflection and relationship building among the participants. Student learning is guided by an instructional collaborative that includes trained facilitators, educators from the Fisher College of Business at The Ohio State University, as well as community leaders from across Central Ohio.

Each COLA class is made up of no more than fifty rising high school junior and senior students representing urban, suburban and rural districts as well as public, private and charter schools. Ideal participants are students who have applied, or are applying, effective leadership skills in their schools or communities. These are students who would benefit from engaging with like-minded peers and spending time developing their sense of self.

Different High Schools

Student Changed

Students Per Class

Testimonials

Testimonials

The diversity is the number one thing that makes COLA distinct, but I also think the guest speakers and connections the students make at COLA are unique. COLA is a network of amazing leaders and typically our students don’t get to experience life outside of the their community. I see COLA as a way to instill civic responsibility and ownership.

Cathy Gongwer

A Hilliard School Teacher
I have enjoyed my experience at COLA so much. Thank you for for seeing the value in me so I could have this opportunity. All of the facilitators are amazing and listen to what you have to say and really encourage you to be the best you, you can be. I will remember this experience my whole life.

Jordan Reeves

2018 COLA Alumni

Join Us for the 2021 Session!

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.

2021 ProgramContact Us