Many parents want their kids to be great students and athletes, and it is hard to be both. But there is a trait that connects the classroom and the field of play – leadership. At Francis Howell High, the Viking Leadership Academy [VLA] is what bridges that gap.
VLA develops life-long leadership skills in students to make the Francis Howell community a better place. Most recently, VLA hosted the first of several guest speakers who will visit during 2017-18 school year, Dr. Brandon Orr, director of the positive coaching masters program and an assistant teaching professor of sports psychology at the University of Missouri.
Orr has consulted for numerous collegiate athletic departments, including Mizzou wrestling and men’s basketball. While his main focus is on high performance with athletes, his expertise is not limited to just college sports. He also has consulted with individuals from the National Football League, National Hockey League, Major League Baseball, Ultimate Fighting Championship and the United States Military.
Orr’s message to “be uncommon” was a spark for the students in VLA. The emphasis of his presentation was to be a leader – not just for yourself, but also to “bring others along with you.” Students were asked to think about who benefits from their leadership, and how they could make others around them great.
“It’s about each of these students having an individual responsibility in the culture they are trying to build here,” Dr. Orr said. “That’s not always easy to do; and because it’s the hard thing, it’s what we should do.”
Francis Howell High student Blake Johnson said, “I learned that being a leader can be hard at times, but you have to stick with it.”
That was the exact lesson Orr wanted to share.
VLA – and the speakers they will have this year – are a great example for other students.
“I feel like VLA will help everyone out if we all just lead and help a little bit at a time,” Johnson said.