Porter-Billups Leadership Academy celebrates graduating seniors in ceremony

Rising high school seniors in the Porter-Billups Leadership Academy celebrated their success this week in a graduation ceremony hosted in the St. John Francis Regis Chapel at Regis University. In speeches, the students thanked families, teachers and their peers and shared the ways the Academy impacted them. 

“PBLA is a place where your goals, success and growth will be validated no matter their size,” senior Kylee Anderson said. “It is a place where there is no pressure to be better than anyone else. The most important thing is to be the best you can be.”

 In addition to celebrating their success, students were gifted with laptops that will guide them through 12th grade and college. The computers, which include software for student Microsoft Office programs, were made possible by donations, grants and a partnership with Regis’ Anderson College of Business and Computing.

The Academy, which entered its 26th year, is a leadership program that, each summer, takes students fourth grade through 12th grade through three weeks of curriculum tailored to their grade levels, from a course about Jackie Robinson’s leadership in fourth grade to a class about human rights for seventh-graders. PBLA also includes academic and career mentorship for high school students.

Staci Porter-Bentley, a co-founder and director of the Academy, said that one year after making the unprecedented decision to cancel summertime Academy coursework in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, students and staff returned to their regular schedule.

“As we all know, 2020 was a year like no other,” she said. “This summer, the teachers and students were excited to be back to normal, back with their PBLA family.”

This year, the Academy added a full-time counselor to its staff, thanks to grants and donations.

Additionally, new activities were introduced to the Academy’s 195 students, including an experiential course with the Regis Physical Therapy Department that included a tour of a lab, and a new technology course that allowed high school students to earn tech certifications.

For Porter-Bentley, experiences like this have a clear impact.

“Imagine if you were a youngster and you were able to experience something like that at such a young age, how that might change the trajectory of your life and the field of work you might decide to go into,” she said.

To learn more about the Academy, visit porter-billups.org.


About Regis University

Established in 1877, Regis University is a premier, globally engaged institution of higher learning in the Jesuit tradition that prepares leaders to live productive lives of faith, meaning and service. Regis University, one of 27 Jesuit universities in the nation, has three campus locations in the Denver metro area and extensive online program offerings with more than 8,000 enrolled students. For more information, visit www.regis.edu.