Class presidents, club leaders, volunteers — young people who are already involved in student leadership — get a lot of attention and opportunities. But what about the potential leaders, the next tier who are waiting in the wings for their chance to shine?

Fresno State has something for them too. About 100 juniors and seniors from 30 Central Valley high schools will get that chance at the third annual Central Valley Emerging Leaders Summit Aug. 2 and 3 at Fresno State.

Local urban high schools — Fresno, Clovis and Central unified school districts — will be represented, but so will many schools from smaller outlying Valley towns. Organizers get the word out to high school counselors, who help identify prospective students and urge them to apply.

The summit was designed to inspire area high school students who have leadership potential and provide tools and strategies to take back and use at their high schools and in their communities.

“The goal of CVELS is to provide a unique opportunity for Valley high school students to strengthen their leadership skills at Fresno State,” said Fresno State President Joseph I. Castro. “These talented students are emerging leaders who will help to elevate the Valley to new heights of success in the future.”

During the free, two-day, one-night camp, students will hear from faculty, staff and community members, engage in hands-on activities and network with Fresno State student leaders while experiencing on-campus living and dining in the dormitories and the Residence Dining Hall.

Jim Yovino, Fresno County superintendent of schools, will welcome students at 10:15 a.m. Thursday in the University Dining Hall. After lunch, several community members will share Leadership Vignettes from 1:15-2:30 p.m. in North Gym 118.

  • 1:15 p.m. — Matt Grundy, CEO of Fresno County Habitat for Humanity
  • 1:30 p.m. — Leslie Botos, director of community relations and development, Central California Blood Center
  • 1:45 p.m. — Diego Arambula, executive director, GO Public Schools
  • 2 p.m. — Andy Souza, president and CEO of the Central California Food Bank
  • 2:15 p.m. — Mary Castro, Fresno State’s first lady

In addition to leadership labs and workshops, students will take part in experiential E.D.G.E. Ropes Course activities from 8 a.m. to noon on Friday.

The summit will close on Friday evening with a banquet where participants will receive their certificates in front of family and supporters.

The concept for the summit was born out of the University’s 2015 Bold Ideas Challenge, in which faculty and staff were invited to submit ideas to improve services to students or enhance processes. Staff members from various offices and departments across the University then worked to develop the idea and make it a reality.

For more information, contact Lisa Boyles at 559.278.5366 or

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