Topeka, Kan. – The Washburn University Leadership Institute will welcome 215 high school and college students from six states March 2 and 3 for the 13th annual Washburn University Leadership Challenge EventTM (LCETM). Some of these students are traveling from as far away as Virginia to join this annual two-day leadership competition. The LCE is the only event of its kind in the U.S., offering students a space to practice the leadership skills they will need when navigating challenges in the real world.

      “From my personal experience with volunteering for the event, and now planning it, I can say that the Leadership Challenge Event is a once in a lifetime opportunity, and I am proud to be a part of it,” said Mikaella White-Leistikow, the 2023 LCE fellow and Washburn University senior, majoring in social work. “It gives students the opportunity to put their leadership skills into practice in a simulated real-life crisis, something they wouldn’t usually get to do until their professional life.

      “It also gives all of our volunteers the opportunity to witness and play a role in the leadership growth and development of our futures leaders. I couldn’t imagine a more exciting experience.”

      The Leadership Institute has coordinated 160 campus and Topeka-area community volunteers and more than 50 Washburn University student volunteers to serve as judges, role players, facilitators, and help manage the coordination and logistics of the event. The Leadership Institute students have also raised $43,200 in sponsorships, including co-title sponsorships from the Capitol Federal Foundation® and Evergy.

      There are 42 teams participating this year – 15 college teams and 27 high school teams. Teams arrive Thursday, March 2 and will visit Washburn University, attending leadership orientation where participants will hear from a variety of community leaders on topics that will directly inform the simulation competition the following day.

      The leadership simulation will start at 8 a.m. Friday, March 3 at the Maner Conference Center, 1717 S.W. Topeka Blvd. Students will participate in planning and strategy meetings, written tasks and individual and team leadership decisions. During this time, they will interact with volunteers role-playing as community stakeholders invested in the crisis the students are tasked with solving. The simulation encompasses three rounds, all observed by judges who score participants’ leadership acumen on a variety of metrics, including a group presentation defending all their decisions at the conclusion of the exercises.

      Competition concludes with an awards ceremony at 3:45 p.m. in Heritage Hall in the Stormont Vail Events Center, 1 Expocenter Dr. Award sponsors and representatives from the Leadership Institute and Washburn University will recognize champions, second and third place winners in both the high school and college divisions. The Leadership Institute will give awards for exemplary communication, collaboration and transformation of performance from the beginning of the simulation until the end of the simulation.



Editor’s Note:

(*=First Year participating)

College Participants:

- Arkansas Tech University

- Christopher Newport University (two teams)

- Cottey College (2 teams)

- Fort Hays State University

- Kansas City Kansas Community College

- Kansas State University

- Midland University

- Missouri Western State University

- *Seward County Community College (two teams)

- University of Nebraska - Lincoln (two teams)

- Wartburg College

High School Participants:

- *Andover High School

- Arkansas City High School

- Bishop Seabury Academy (2 teams)

- Derby High School

- Fort Scott High School

- Highland Park High School

- *Leavenworth High School JROTC

- Northeast Magnet High School (two teams)

- Northern Heights High School

- Rossville High School

- Seaman High School

- Shawnee Heights High School

- Shawnee Mission Northwest High School

- Silver Lake High School

- St. Mary’s High School

- Topeka High School

- Topeka West High School

- Washburn Rural High School

- Wellington High School (two teams)

- West Franklin High School

- Wichita High School Northwest

- Wichita South High School

- Wichita West High School

  • Yates Center High School
For further information, contact:
Joy Bailes
Assistant Director of Public Relations
Telephone: 785-670-2153
Cell: 785-230-1648
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