About ASCEND Leadership

ASCEND Leaders set out on a new trajectory that transforms the way that young people think, act and engage with the world around them.

Meet the next generation of leaders - YouTube (360p).mp4

Leadership programs are varied and unique at each Sir Wilfrid Laurier School Board (SWLSB) school serving over 12 000 students.


ASCEND Leadership (ASL) provides a link to enhance the progression of learning with school student leadership programs by supporting the school, teacher, staff member and students. We have been called Leadership, Student Leadership, and Advanced Student Leadership over the years. Student leaders work on councils, clubs, and lead on the playground, through STEM partnerships, on the stage, and on sports teams.


ASCEND Leadership is facilitated by SWLSB Spiritual Care, Guidance, and Community Involvement Animators as a part of the Pedagogical Services Department.


We support and deliver both elementary and high school (secondary) components designed to deepen the educational experience and enhance the personal development and agency of the student and school community.


Since 2008, we have been helping students develop the competency and capacity to lead as they take action to have a positive impact in their communities. Ascend Leadership started when we lost alumnus Sgt. Christos Karigiannis in Afghanistan in 2007. When we planted a maple tree in front of his high school in remembrance, our students asked us; "why do we remember the fallen but not people serving in our communities everday?". We worked to answered this question in a meaningful way and decided to reach out and adopt his friends, family, and regiment. Our partnership with 3rd Battalion Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry was born.

We are moving young people from being a spectator, to becoming a participant, and into a stakeholder through their learning environment.


Every student has unique abilities, but what they sometimes lack are meaningful opportunities to develop the agency to use those abilities in proactive ways that benefit them and their world.

ASCEND Leadership helps students to explore their interests, talents and pursue their passions while serving a need in their community.

Linking the learning in the classroom to real world experiences, students begin to gain confidence, develop empathy, foster critical thinking, enhance their collaboration skills and nurture a healthy well-being while they progressively acquire and develop the tools necessary to lead.

ASCEND Leadership is a trans-formative, multi year training process that equips young people with the skills required by tomorrow's CEOs and community leaders as they take on meaningful leadership responsibilities now.

Terry Fox bike 2018.mp4

The next generation of leaders develop the essential leadership and followership skills for success in life and with a team.

ASCEND Leaders understand how diverse teams work together to solve complex problems. Team building and effective teamwork is an art form that students learn through dynamic roles and responsibilities. Students are immersed in team building, team management, system thinking, developing effective communication skills, building trust, establishing and sustaining momentum, model behaviour, and they evaluate results to enhance collaboration and practices for future efforts.

Students are given meaningful roles to effect real change in our communities through the development and practice of these leadership skills.

For example... (click)


Mens Sana In Corpore Sano Ut Prosim Aliis

A healthy mind in a healthy body in service to others.

ASCEND Leadership creates a climate for a broad set of goals and different dimensions of learning to overlap, interconnect, and become mutually reinforcing. Transform academic competencies by integrating them into the overall student experience through engaged responsibility and roles for shared outcomes that are visible, measurable, and rewarding.

Mind - We know that words without actions are meaningless.

Starting in grade 5, students begin to learn to lead. Students progress as leaders by understanding the exchange between followers and leaders. Over the years, each student develop agency while they explore their talents and interests through different opportunities. Student leaders begin to interact with their world as they develop roles and responsibilities in it with local, national, and global community initiatives.

Body - We know that actions without understanding are empty.

Moving from intention to purposeful actions draws students and adults together. Through intentional, planned, and purposeful action and team building, leaders learn to work to think broadly, use tools strategically, and to act decisively.

Soul - We know that inaction is impossible.

Everyone has a role. Everyone has opportunity. Everyone has ability. Everyone has a place. Students are encouraged to use the skills that they are learning in the classroom to move from bystander, to active participant, to dynamic leader in the pursuit of excellence as we seek a better world. This is leadership in service to the team and the wider world.

"What leadership meant and still means to me now is the fire to not only change yourself but to change those around you and to affect them in a way that will be with them forever. To be an example of respect, of love and of true leadership and that is not something that can be bought and is truly priceless."

Jessica Williams - 2013 Graduate