_programs

Leadership, Education & Development (LEAD)

Leadership, Education and Development (LEAD):

  • Supports the participating schools in the development of students to graduate and pursue higher education.
  • Exposes students to countless business and networking opportunities.
  • Improves our community by ensuring that more of our students graduate and contribute to our
    expanding workforce.
  • Engages local business support in the development of our students.
  • Provides opportunities to permanently change a student’s life and to improve not only their own success, but the success of our community and businesses as well.

About the Program

The LEAD program is a business and education partnership that pairs high school students from participating schools with business leaders to foster mentoring relationships that educate and expose students to various business fields. By improving the students’ knowledge of higher education and potential career paths, they expand their goals for their future. Through this program, the Greater Waco Chamber hopes to motivate these students to graduate high school and pursue higher education, which in turn ensures greater employability and quality of life.

The LEAD program has been around for more than 10 years and has a 100 percent graduation rate. In addition, we are proud that all students who have pursued some form of higher education. Currently, there are 197 students in the program and 93 mentors.

Get Involved >

Participating LEAD Schools

Connally High School
Harmony School of Innovation
La Vega High School
Lorena High School
Midway High School
Rapoport Academy
Robinson High School
Methodist Children’s Home
University High School
Waco High School

Scholarships

Every year, we are proud to support graduating seniors by offering them exclusive access to scholarships. Students complete an application and go through a rigorous interview process. Since 2010, nearly $400,000 in scholarships have been awarded.

2020 LEAD Scholarship Recipients

Congratulations to the 2020 scholarship recipients!

Kimberly Hernandez received the $20,000 Bradley Ray Hulse Memorial scholarship.

The annual $20,000 Bradley Ray Hulse Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Kimberly Hernandez, a Waco High School graduate who will be attending the University of Houston to study business and architecture.

This year we are also proud to announce a new scholarship presented by Drs. Jake and Soo Battle: The Battle Family No Boundaries Scholarship. The $2,500 Battle Family No Boundaries Scholarship was awarded to Isabella Marie Dominguez, Midway High School graduate who will attend Texas Women’s University to study dentistry.

The remaining $44,000 was awarded to 18 other scholarship recipients.

  • Waco High School graduate Aaliyah Dilworth received the $10,000 LEAD Distinction Scholarship. Dilworth will attend the University of North Texas to study political science.
  • University High School graduate Cassady Copas received a $5,000 LEAD Ambassador Scholarship. Copas will attend the Massachusetts College of Pharmacology and Health Science to study to become a doctor.
  • University High School graduate Hannah Ruby received a $5,000 LEAD Ambassador Scholarship. Ruby will attend Texas A&M University to study psychology.
  • University High School graduate Alannah Thornton-Sabido received a $2,500 No Boundaries Scholarship. Thornton-Sabido will attend the Texas A&M University to study human resources.
  • Waco High School graduate Ashtien Willis received a $2,500 No Boundaries Scholarship. Willis will attend Texas State Technical College to study welding to become a lineman.
  • Harmony Science Academy graduate Andrew Logan Rosas received the $2,000 Alton Davis Memorial Scholarship. Rosas will attend Texas A&M University to study architecture.
  • Midway High School graduate Glenda Gutierrez received a $2,000 LEAD Persistence Scholarship. Gutierrez will attend the University of North Texas to study emergency management and planning.
  • Waco High School graduate Ashley Wilburn received a $2,000 LEAD Persistence Scholarship. Wilburn will attend the University of North Texas to study interior design.
  • La Vega High School graduate Jeffrey Nickerson received a $2,000 LEAD Persistence Scholarship. Nickerson will attend Lees-McRae College in North Carolina to study psychology.
  • Waco High School graduate Dai'Shawn Fisher received a $2,000 LEAD Persistence Scholarship. Fisher will attend Howard Payne University to study architecture and engineering.
  • Midway High School graduate Castiderra (CJ) Calhoun received a $2,000 LEAD Persistence Scholarship. Calhoun will attend the University of Oklahoma to study kinesiology.
  • La Vega High School graduate Braxton Zilem received a $1,000 LEAD Merit Scholarship. Zilem will attend the Tarleton State University to study theater education.
  • University High School graduate Jolyssa Lewis received a $1,000 LEAD Merit Scholarship. Lewis will attend the University of Texas at Arlington to study nursing.
  • Midway High School graduate Alexis Aguilar received a $1,000 LEAD Merit Scholarship. Aguilar will attend Tarleton State University to study business management.
  • Waco High School graduate Daja Davis received a $1,000 LEAD Merit Scholarship. Davis will attend McLennan Community College to study business management.
  • Waco High School graduate Keith Guillory received a $1,000 LEAD Merit Scholarship. Guillory will attend Howard Payne University to study mechanical engineering.
  • Midway High School graduate Reaghan Ridge received a $1,000 LEAD Merit Scholarship. Ridge will attend Temple College to study dentistry.
  • Waco High School graduate Destiny Bouye received the $1,000 Reaching Back As We Climb Scholarship. Bouye will attend Texas A&M University at Prairie View to study nursing.
2019 LEAD Scholarship Recipients

Congratulations to the 2019 scholarship recipients!

The annual $20,000 Bradley Ray Hulse Memorial Scholarship was awarded to Amaiya DeLeon, a Midway High School senior student who will be attending the University of North Texas to study music education and music performance.

This year we were excited to present a new LEAD alumni-sponsored scholarship. Ashley Phillips, a 2008 graduate of LEAD and Waco High School, created the $500 Reaching Back As We Climb scholarship. She currently resides in Austin, Texas and is a supply chain planner at General Mills. During the LEAD banquet, Phillips presented the Reaching Back As We Climb scholarship to Waco High student Armando Barry. Barry will be attending the University of North Texas to study sports journalism.

The remaining $36,000 was awarded to 14 other scholarship recipients.

  • University High School student Ximena Reynoso received a $5,000 LEAD Distinction Scholarship. Reynoso will be attending Texas A&M University to study political science.
  • Waco High School student Halee Wise also received a $5,000 LEAD Distinction Scholarship. Wise will be attending Prairie View A&M University to study to become a physician’s assistant.
  • Waco High School student Evelyn Vallejo also received a $5,000 LEAD Distinction Scholarship. Vallejo will be attending the University of Texas at Arlington to study sports medicine.
  • Waco High School student Elena Perez also received a $5,000 LEAD Distinction Scholarship. Perez will be attending the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor to become a physician’s assistant.
  • Waco High School student Tilynncia Grant received a $2,500 No Boundaries Scholarship. Grant will be attending Texas State University to study nursing.
  • Waco High School student Christopher Esqueda also received a $2,500 No Boundaries Scholarship. Esqueda will be attending Trinity Valley Community College to study business management.
  • Waco High School student Hannah Clayton received a $2,000 Alton Davis Memorial Scholarship. Clayton will be attending Huston-Tillotson University to study computer science.
  • Midway High School student Xavier Abalos received a $2,000 LEAD Merit Scholarship. Abalos will be attending Texas Tech University to study law enforcement.
  • University High School student Nayeli Guerrero also received a $2,000 LEAD Merit Scholarship. Guerrero will be attending McLennan Community College and will transfer to Tarleton State University or Midwestern University to study dentistry.
  • University High School student Lyric McGowan received a $1,000 LEAD Persistence Scholarship. McGowan will be attending Lamar University to study speech pathology.
  • Midway High School student Jamaine Lopez also received a $1,000 LEAD Persistence Scholarship. Lopez will be attending McLennan Community College and transfer to the University of Houston to study business and entrepreneurship.
  • Waco High School student Nakarri Vincent also received a $1,000 LEAD Persistence Scholarship. Vincent will be attending McLennan Community College and plans to transfer to McMurry University to study kinesiology.
  • Midway High School student Cashon Lewis also received a $1,000 LEAD Persistence Scholarship. Lewis will be attending Angelo State University to study criminal justice.
  • Waco High School student Tira Keseya Evans received a $1,000 Alton Davis Memorial Scholarship. Evans will be attending Concordia University to study nursing.

How to Get Involved

LEAD is a great program for anyone who is interested in changing the life trajectory of local students! From becoming a mentor to sponsoring a scholarship or hosting an event, there's something to fit everyone's commitment level.

Become a Mentor

To continue to add schools and students, we need more mentors! Mentors are typically paired with between two and four sophomores from a participating school and build a relationship with these students until they graduate (and beyond). Each month during the school year, the Chamber plans industry tours and presentations that mentors and mentees may attend. 

LEAD Mentors:

  • Commit to the development of students with leadership potential who need guidance and encouragement toward the pursuit of higher education and career goals.
  • Share their expertise and leadership skills while gaining satisfaction by encouraging and assisting in the development of our students.
  • Make the time (twice monthly during the school year) and commitment (three years) contribute to the lives of our students.
Sponsorships & Scholarships

We're always looking for new sponsors for shirts, events, field trips, tours and scholarships. If any of these sound interesting to you (or your organization), email Rachel Martinez

Host an Event

Interested in hosting a group of mentors and students? We're always looking for businesses to host tours! Email Rachel Martinez for information about how you can get involved.

For more information about LEAD or to volunteer, please contact Rachel Martinez at 254-757-5633 or email committee chair, Joe Nesbitt.