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Youth Leadership Academy logo


Youth Leadership Academy

The Youth Leadership Academy, sponsored by Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site and the National Park Service, begins its tenth year and is accepting applications from high school students from greater Little Rock/Central Arkansas through Friday, November 29, 2019. Applicants must be a current freshman, sophomore or junior enrolled in high school. The selection of new members of the Youth Leadership Academy will be announced to the public on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Holiday – Monday, January 20, 2020.

The purpose of the Youth Leadership Academy is to empower young leaders at Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site and promote volunteerism, nonviolence, and stewardship for the National Park Service. Our mission is to help develop student leaders, raise consciousness in our communities, and encourage creativity in education of civil and human rights issues. Participants will discover themselves and gain knowledge in the context of the local and global community and share that knowledge on to others as agents of change for leadership and nonviolence.

Over the past decade, Youth Leadership Academy students have:

  • traveled and learned about the history of civil rights with their peers on pilgrimages through the South as part of Sojourn to the Past
  • participated in the commemorative events surrounding the anniversary of the Selma to Montgomery March and the passage of the Voting Rights Act of 1965
  • worked creatively with actors and directors to use performance art as a medium for social change
  • served in various leadership capacities with the Youth Conservation Corps and Student Conservation Association in Yellowstone National Park, Acadia National Park, Morristown National Historical Park and Great Smoky Mountains National Park.
  • canoed a portion of the Buffalo National River, prepared their meals and spent time together in reflection of our challenges and opportunities in the coming future
  • developed digital stories as part of the NPS Call to Action initiative
  • assisted with commemorative programming each year for the anniversary of the desegregation of Little Rock Central High School
  • escorted members of the Little Rock Nine and Harry Belafonte during a presentation and awards ceremonies honoring these civil rights icons
  • provided assistance throughout a youth symposium, Victory Through History: The Power of YOUth!, comprised of guest speakers, workshops, film screenings and artistic performances
  • wrote, edited and produced films for AETN (Arkansas’s PBS affiliate) Student Selects programming
  • contributed extensive volunteer hours in service for the National Historic Site, local partners and community affiliates

Collectively, the high school students will generate empowerment through interactive workshops, leadership training and dialogue with influential guest speakers in order to foster global responsibility and service to the community. One unique aspect of the Academy is the youth involvement in the planning and implementation of the program. Each member of the Youth Leadership Academy will be evaluated annually on participation, attendance, contribution and other commitments to allow us to maintain a strong, functional and productive organization.

Applications can be picked up at the Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site Visitor Center or found at the below link. For more information, please contact the site at 501-374-1957.

2019-20 Youth Leadership Academy Application/Instructions

Last updated: October 16, 2019

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

Little Rock Central High School NHS
2120 W. Daisy L. Gatson Bates Drive

Little Rock, AR 72202-5212



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