All students who attend the National Young Scholars Program will have the chance to harness their creativity and discover their passions. The program not only invigorates the natural curiosity that is a gift of childhood but also helps the students learn how to apply that curiosity to create real-world solutions. They will develop skills in five key leadership areas: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, relationship skills, and responsible decision-making. Students will come away from the program with a stronger sense of themselves and an understanding of how they can influence the future, as well as increased self-confidence and independence.
Daily Time-Travel Simulations
During these simulations, students learn about historical innovators and influencers like Sybil Ludington, a sixteen-year-old who made a nighttime ride to rally Patriot soldiers, and Michael J. Cullen, an American entrepreneur who founded what is considered to be the first supermarket in America. While adventuring through time, the students will explore the adversity these young leaders faced along their paths to solve the problems of their family, community, and country.
After hearing these original influencers’ stories and understanding the time periods in which they lived, students will participate in an engaging activity related to each innovator's achievements, such as using a map and their problem-solving skills to construct a route of their own or working in teams to create an elevator pitch for an innovative idea. They will then discover their personal strengths and weaknesses through a series of games and challenges specifically organized to test their leadership skills and growth throughout the program.
Local Site Visits
Students enjoy two unique site visits. The first is to a historical location or museum where the past will come alive for the students. Past site visits include the Los Angeles Wildlife Learning Center, Queens County Farm Museum, and Houston Museum of Natural Science.
The second site visit will be a fun and immersive experience where students will assess the institution’s efforts and partnership potential related to their We the Future project. Past site visits include the Autry Museum of the American West, Governors Island, and Space Center Houston.
Students hear from successful young people who have made positive impacts in their communities. Past speakers have included Grace Callwood, who founded a nonprofit at age 7 to help vulnerable youth, and Cavanaugh Bell, 9-year-old “Chief Positivity Creator” of the bullying prevention nonprofit Cool & Dope. These stories not only inspire and show the students what they can achieve, but they also provide them with an understanding of challenges they may face and how to overcome them.
We the Future Project
During this program-long simulation, students utilize their creativity and create a Future Action Plan to influence change in their home community. In small groups, they will pick an issue notable to them and create a plan to help build the future they aspire to live in, working through the proof of concept, planning, and audience engagement required. Students will also create a brand and public service announcement video to help launch their idea, then present their concept to a panel of local community members to voice their ideas on how they can make a difference.