COLA empowers great young leaders in Central Ohio to make a greater difference in their communities. Cierra King, a 2015 COLA alumna and Northland High School student was inspired to make a difference in her school by empowering her community to follow their passions and set high expectations for themselves and their school. The COLA class and program supporters rallied behind her to turn her idea into reality. The success of the #whatsnextproject is a testament to what our young people are capable of achieving.

COLA partnered with Northland High School for the first-ever Dream Big week, where students, faculty, staff and parents participated in a series of activities and conversations facilitated by COLA staff about what they want for the future of their community. These conversations influenced the design of a mural that was painted onto a highly visible wall in Northland High School. The mural illustrated by local artist Jeremy Jarvis, was commissioned by the Central Ohio Leadership Academy and painted by the 2015 COLA class as well as students, staff, parents, and community members over the course of several days.

“I think the Mural project will serve as a permanent reinforcement of positivity and motivation that students and the Northland community will see every day as they pursue their studies at Northland High school” said Cierra King. “The project will bring together my community and my school, so that we all feel connected. Reminding students that it’s not about the clothes we wear, the shoes we have on, or where we are from. It’s about coming together to learn and encourage each other to be successful.”