There’s no better way to develop leadership skills than to practice, practice, practice. That is exactly what St. Francis Borgia Regional High School students Matt Gratza, Morgan Hammer, Jack King, Sarah Rembecki, Grace Rickman and Andrew Struckhoff did while attending the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry’s Leadership in Practice program.

These students were among more than 100 youth selected as future leaders from schools across the state.

Held June 24-27 on the Westminster campus in Fulton, Leadership in Practice is designed to provide young Missourians with the opportunity to learn what it takes to be an effective leader in their schools and communities.

All participants were students between their freshman and sophomore years in high school. With help from Missouri business leaders and educators, the students learned firsthand about how to successfully work together as a team and individually as a leader.

The students were challenged to use leadership skills in activities that simulated real-life situations. Participants were encouraged to set goals for themselves for their development as leaders.

Working in small groups, the students also developed business plans for a new product or service and pitched their ideas to a “Shark Tank” style panel of Missouri business leaders.

Leadership in Practice is part of a youth leadership educational program created by the Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 1962. It is funded through scholarships provided by state businesses and civic organizations.

Applicants are evaluated on character, scholarship and leadership and must be recommended by a school official, Student Council sponsor or civic leader.

For more information on the Missouri Chamber’s Leadership in Practice program, visit