Azusa, CA – A group of Azusa High School students transformed their lunch period into a Luau celebration for special needs classmates on Friday, May 27, as part of their culminating community Impact Project through Chick-fil-A Leader Academy.

Students involved in the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy, a national high school leadership program, spent nine months engaging in community projects to build their skills and to make a difference in the lives of others. For their final project, they chose to support fellow students in Azusa’s Life Skills program, a class that helps develop students with special learning needs.

Students were treated to a festive lunchtime celebration that included Hawaiian leis, music, dancing and a lunch provided by Chick-fil-A. In addition, the Life Skills program was presented with three new iPads to further enhance learning in the classroom.

“Today is the culmination of everything they have learned through the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy in making a difference in the lives of others,” Azusa High School Principal Ramiro Rubalcaba said. “Our student leaders decided to dedicate resources to show our ‘buddies,’ or special needs students, that they are important and capable of success through education just like every other student.”

With the help of Azusa Chick-fil-A Restaurant Operator Carlos Mayen Solorzano, students applied for a special grant to pay for the iPads and to host the luncheon.

Azusa Unified Board of Education President Yolanda Rodriguez-Peña and Superintendent Dr. Linda Kaminski joined the celebration, which also drew the attention of Azusa Mayor Joseph Rocha, who addressed students and teachers in attendance.

“Our philosophy in Azusa is to serve others regardless of our differences. That is what I see demonstrated here today and I would like to recognize our Azusa Chick-fil-A Leader Academy for making this day possible through their kindness and generosity,” Mayor Rocha said.

As one of 300 schools selected to receive the grant, Azusa High School serves as a model school in the region helping to promote community engagement through the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy. Students in Azusa’s Life Skills program represent grades 9 – 12 and range from having moderate to severe learning disabilities.

Members of Chick-fil-A’s corporate office were present to recognize students and to highlight the activities in a video, which will be used to promote the Leader Academy to other high schools.

Chick-fil-A Leader Academy launched in 2013 and as of 2016, serves more than 600 schools.


Chickfila1: Azusa High School students in the Chick-fil-A Leader Academy hosted a luau celebration for classmates in the Life Skills program on Friday, May 27, as part of their culminating community Impact Project, which included a donation of iPads and a free lunch.

Chickfila2: Chick-fil-A helped students in Azusa High School’s Life Skills program celebrate the end of the school year with a free luau luncheon on Friday, May 27.