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St. Charles Preparatory school junior Colin Lauber has earned a spot at the Marine Corps Recruiting Command Summer Leadership and Character Development Academy (SLCDA) through his dedication to giving back to his fellow students and his community. Lauber, of Columbus, Ohio, is one of 200 students nationwide selected to attend. (Courtesy photo provided by Colin Lauber)

Photo by Sgt. Caitlin Brink

St. Charles Prep student selected to attend Marine Leadership Academy

6 Jun 2018 | Sgt. Caitlin Brink 4th Marine Corps District

A St. Charles Preparatory school junior has earned a spot at the Marine Corps Summer Leadership and Character Development Academy (SLCDA) through his dedication to giving back to his fellow students and his community. Colin Lauber of Columbus, Ohio, is one of 200 students nationwide selected to attend.

“I’m excited! I must have done something right, because over 800 people applied for 200 spots, and I was one of the 200,” said Lauber. “I understand that SLCDA will push us, and that makes me a little nervous, but that’s okay. Everyone needs a little pushing sometimes. I’m excited to prove to myself what I’m capable of and to be in an environment where others feel the same.”

The academy will focus on both physical and academic activities and is a community outreach and social connection program that is part of the greater connection with America Campaign. Attendees will hear from guest speakers, tour the base and participate in physical fitness activities and team building exercises.

“I expect to get out of SLCDA leadership qualities and experience to help me become a better leader now, in my home, in my school, and in my community, and later on in life, in the Marines and in other jobs,” said Lauber. “I think one of the greatest feelings in the world is being part of a team -- being part of something bigger than yourself.”

The academy takes place in Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, and is a free, week-long event for rising high school juniors and seniors. The academy will focus on instilling three pillars of development: character values, leadership traits and high ethical standards.

“I think that learning under the guidance of retired, reserve and active Marine leaders will shed a new perspective on what it means to be a leader and what it takes. I want to prove something to myself. I want to test myself to see what I can really do,” said Lauber. “That’s what SLCDA is all about. But I also hope to gain a better understanding of the Marine Corps itself.”

Lauber has already taken it upon himself to go above and beyond in setting the example for this fellow students. A 10-year member of the Boy Scouts of America, Lauber also frequently volunteers at his church and local food shelter and holds a management position on the school’s varsity soccer team; experience, he says, will only benefit his goal of becoming a leader of Marines. 

“I've wanted to be a Marine since practically the first time I heard about them,” said Lauber. “My grandfather was a first lieutenant of an infantry platoon during the early 60's, and his stories and love of the Corps has resonated within me for as long as I can remember.”

Lauber says he aims to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps and become a Marine Officer, a path he feels attending SCLDA will enhance. 

“His entire character is defined by the Marines,” said Lauber. “The Marines taught him not only how to lead a platoon of infantry, but also many of the core beliefs in life. Never give up. Never leave a man behind. Always put in a hundred percent of your effort into your goals, and you will succeed. My grandfather taught me that a good leader is able to stand up during times of both peace and conflict and lead others towards an objective, no matter how easy or difficult.”

To be eligible for SCLDA, students must submit an application and written essay to ensure they possess strong morals, ethical standards and an understanding of Marine Corps leadership traits such as judgement and unselfishness. 

“I believe that there are always ways to learn and improve different techniques including leadership,” said Lauber. “I already consider myself more of a leader than a follower in my community and school, but I understand that there are always ways to become better.”

The program is not strictly geared toward students who are interested in future military service. Rather, the program focuses on instilling leadership concepts and having students return to their communities with a greater sense of purpose and the ability to better handle situations and endeavors in a capable manner.

“Working alongside others who share my passion always invigorates me to do the best I can, and I think that at this leadership academy, there is much to learn about myself and others,” said Lauber. “As part of the Boy Scouts, I understand the importance of leadership and working together, and that many projects would be almost impossible when doing alone. I hope to learn from SLCDA better ways for working with and alongside others and the importance of team building. I think that I will also learn tips and ideas from SLCDA for how to be a good model for others and the best way to lead others and also more about the leadership potential hopefully inside me already. I sincerely hope and believe that SLCDA will have lasting impact on the way my life is going already and the direction it can take in the future.”

The 2018 Summer Leadership and Character Development Academy will take place July 16 – 22, 2018. To nominate a student for the 2019 Summer Leadership and Character Development Academy, please visit

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4th Marine Corps District