This is the mantra chanted by participants of the annual Student Leadership Instituted hosted by the NC Department of Public Instruction.  In its sixth year,  the institute, is designed to prepare students to take active roles in their schools and communities through service experiences that are aligned to the curriculum.  It is divided into three cohorts:  (1) rising fourth and fifth graders, (2) rising sixth through eighth graders, and (3) rising ninth through twelfth graders. Prospective participants register as a team of 4-6 students with at least one adult mentor from their school or district.

Selected teams will  receive:

  • One half day of team building experiences;
  • One full day of minds-on learning from experienced trainers in character and leadership development;
  • One half day of hands-on learning at an experiential learning site near Pfeiffer University;
  • One half day of training in service-learning action-planning;
  • Evening activities that are fun, reflective, and impactful;
  • Tools and materials to support service-learning, character building, and leadership development beyond the Institute.

All expenses are paid for participants to include:  meals, lodging, and transportation to and from the experiential learning site.


View this video from the 2015 institute.


View this video from the 2016 institute.

TO APPLY TO ATTEND THE 2017 NCDPI SLI Institute (June 28 – July 1, 2017):

*Before you complete the online application, you should review the eligibility requirements on the flyer below and download a paper copy so that you give careful consideration to your responses .  Please do not send in a paper copy of the application.  All applications must be submitted online by the deadline (March 31, 2017).

2017 NCDPI STUDENT LEADERSHIP INSTITUTE APPLICATION:  (This is a paper version of the online application.  Use it to prepare your responses prior to submitting online.  All applications MUST be submitted online.)


Complete the online application here:  2017 NCDPI SLI APPLICATION


The Institute committee will use the following criteria in the selection process:

  • Diversity:  The Institute is seeking to maintain a diverse environment that will allow participants to better understand and value different backgrounds and perspectives.  Each team should describe how their team reflects diversity.  This could include race, ethnicity, academic ability, leadership styles, socioeconomic status, culture, etc.
  • Team Readiness:  A large part of the Institute is devoted to service-learning, thus your ability to complete a service-learning project during the school year is paramount to the success of this initiative.  You will have the opportunity to describe several factors that indicate your readiness to take on this challenge.
  • Most in Need:  We define “most in need” not necessarily as a socioeconomic measure, but rather as a team who would not otherwise have this opportunity because of access or exposure to service-learning ideas or students who would benefit from this experience for other reasons.  Teams will be able to explain why they would benefit from the Institute during the application process.
  • State-wide Representation:  While we will examine each application individually, our goal is to have at least one school represented from each of the eight NC State Board of Education districts across the three cohorts.


For answers to any questions you may have about the Institute, contact the coordinators:

Fay Gore                                            Nakisha Floyd             

For phone inquiries, contact Bernadette Cole at 919-807-3847.