East Texas Christian Academy hosted the East Texas Leadership Banquet with former Dallas Cowboy, three-time Super Bowl Champion and former Gulf War Veteran Chad Hennings on March 17 with approximately 250 people in attendance at the Green Acres CrossWalk Conference Center.
ETCA President Jim Bell kicked off the evening outlining the long-range vision for the school as well as announcing the comprehensive leadership initiative for the school.
Nathan Grounds, spiritual life director, was introduced as the new Director of Leadership Programs. In addition, the school will partner with several national organizations to develop leadership principles within students.
At the elementary level, plans are to continue with Character Counts, a program developed by the Josephson Institute of Ethics. This program will serve as a foundation for further leadership development in the elementary grades, Bell said.
As students transition to middle school, ETCA will partner with Growing Leaders, a nonprofit organization founded by Dr. Tim Elmore, who works with Christian schools, colleges and professional athletic teams such as the Texas Longhorns, Kansas City Royals and Philadelphia Phillies.
At the high school level, Student Leadership University will be a program used to work alongside the school's Leadership Development program – Panther Leadership Academy, Bell said.
Student Leadership University is a national organization headed by leadership expert Dr. Jay Strack. Dr. Stack has worked with many corporations training high level executives as well as NBA basketball teams. The Student Leadership Program will develop leaders throughout a four year program that takes them to San Antonio, Washington D.C., London, Paris, Normandy, Oxford, Israel and Petra.
During this culturally rich program, Bell said, they will hear from company executives, leading apologists, professional sports executives, members of Congress, Whitehouse staff, members of Parliament and professors from Oxford. There is a plan to outline and develop a curriculum that focuses on academics, Biblical worldview and leadership development at all grade levels and in every classroom.
At the conclusion of Bell's presentation, Hennings took the stage and told the importance of leadership development in our youth and outlined steps to strengthening leadership and development in both our personal and professional life.
Hennings spoke to the crowd about the importance of paying attention to the details and keeping God at the center of everything you do. Hennings also shared his experiences on leadership from his days as an Air Force pilot, telling stories about flight missions, playing in the Super Bowl and fulfilling his commitment to the Air Force after his graduation from the Air Force Academy.
After retiring from the Cowboys, Hennings wrote several books and founded a men's ministry called Wingmen Ministries and currently lives in the Dallas area. He is also a businessman who has been featured in Forbes magazine and spoken for over 400 organizations.