The Center for Leadership & International Relations offers a unique learning experience to students who possess the ability to become leaders and desire to impact the world.

The mission of the Center for Leadership & International Relations is to:

  • Develop the students’ capacity to recognize and provide the essentials of ethical leadership in the context of community, national, and international affairs.
  • Help each student understand the importance of international relations for issue resolution and the well being of our society and global community.

This mission will be achieved through an engaged and in-depth study of the history and theories of leadership, how leadership varies across contexts and constituencies, the development of essential leadership competencies and skills, and topics and issues in international relations. Recognizing that learning is active, not passive, the students in the Center will participate in interactive and experiential learning opportunities, encouraging self-understanding and personal growth.

The goals of the program are to:

  • Instill in students an understanding and a passion for leadership that positively impacts their community and their future.
  • Increase the knowledge and develop the leadership skills necessary for students to be successful in leadership roles.
  • Develop knowledgeable citizens who understand the role and impact of international relations on the well being of our society and the global community.
  • Provide students an academically challenging and stimulating course of study.
  • Provide meaningful opportunities for learning and application of knowledge and skills.


Center Cornerstones

  • Perspectives
  • Communication
  • Ethics
  • Service

17 icons that represent each heading.United Nations 17 Sustainable Development Goals

The Center utilizes the 17 Goals within our various course curriculum and as a guide for enrichment opportunities.


The International Relations component of our Center integrates discussions and learning to allow students to develop and recognize what is happening in other parts of the world. Within the classes, students discuss current events, and international relations is woven throughout the curriculum of the teachers.


The Center offers a variety of opportunities for students to learn about different cultures, careers, and fields. We also provide opportunities to meet individuals from different backgrounds and ethnicities.





Enrichment Opportunities

International Relations Interactive Speaker Series (IRISS)

The Center hosts speaker forums for students to hear from a variety of individuals in international relations.

Past speakers include:

  • Anita Ross, White house Intern
  • Natalie May, Change the World RVA
  • Stephanie Stahl & Pilar Waters, World Pediatric Project
  • Dr. Uilana Gabara, Dean of International Education-University of Richmond
  • Sam Robbins, American Youth Leadership Program Participant

VCU Global Education

Center students collaborate with VCU’s Global Education Office to particpate in the Friendship Family Program with international students, volunteer with international students, host dinners with Fulbright Scholars, and serve as conversation partners with VCU international students.

Special Events

  • College Night: Leadership & International Relations
  • International Relations Careers Panel

Capstone Projects

The senior elective focuses on applying servant leadership skills acquired throughout the Center. Each student, either as an individual or pair, is responsible for designing and implementing a Capstone Project that serves the community or school.

Past projects include basketball tournaments for leukemia awareness, benefit fashion shows and concerts, a recycling program, after-school art enrichment programs, soccer clinics for the Head Start program, and golf tournaments for charity.

Capstone Highlights

Outdoor Classroom

Since 2012, students have been working on the design and construction of James River High School’s first outdoor classroom, In the spring of 2014, the Carrie M. Roarty Outdoor Classroom opened. Leadership Students with the help of students and outside businesses constructed the classroom space that all James River students will be able to utilize for a lifetime.


Collaborating with L.C. Bird’s Center for Engineering, Leadership students created The P.O.W.E.R. Project which provides communities in Haiti with a sustainable solar suitcase and awareness.

Bringing the World to RVA

The international awareness project brought culture and the community together to learn about the different people and cultures in the Richmond area.

Jingle Bells

Students spread holiday cheer to nursing home residents throught gifts and visits.


The goal of the Center is to provide academically challenging courses of study to develop knowledgeable citizens who will accept leadership roles in service learning and impact international relations with our global community. ​

9th Grade: Perspective

Freshman year introduces students to the cornerstone of perspective. Students will be engaged in thoughtful conversations throughout their classes. The 9th grade coursework provides engaging dialogue and analysis of current events, literature, and history.

Leadership & International Relations Perspectives

Students will discuss and analyze the historical and philosophical background to leadership, apply those ideas to modern theories, and discuss current events through various perspectives.

Course Overview

Multigenre Literature

The English 9 study of literature will challenge students to examine various literary genres in order to understand literary terms and vocabulary and to analyze and acquire skills necessary for effective leadership.

Course Overview

World History I

Students will examine World History/World Geography from the beginning of time to 1500.

Course Overview

*Course will change to AP Human Geography with the Class of 2024 Cohort.*

10th Grade: Communication

Sophomore year provides a myriad of opportunities for students to improve their oral, written, and digital communication skills. Students will address real-life communication issues, assess their personal communication strengths and areas of improvement, develop usable communication skills, and build a strong portfolio.

Communications for Leadership & International Relations

The course offers students the opportunity to develop a variety of personal and professional communication skills that promote effective leadership and successful international relations.

Course Overview

World Literature

World Literature covers a variety of texts from across the globe. Students will study literature as an art form that reflects human experience at cultural through cultural and universal lenses.

Course Overview

AP World History

AP European History is a college level course which explores the history of Europe from 1450 to the present through analytical thinking and writing.

Course Overview

11th Grade: Ethics

Junior year charges students to develop their abilities to read, explicate, analyze, and evaluate situations, their own ethical positions, and think critically and analytically about ethical issues.

Leadership Innovation Lab

In 11th grade Leadership elective, students develop their own questioning skills and ability to make evidenced-based decisions, examine their values and ethics, through a variety of case studies and find solutions to real world problems in their local school, community, and beyond.

Course Overview

American Literature

The course involves critical reading and writing with an emphasis in American Literature. Students will simultaneously examine the historical bases and context of literature written by American authors.

Course Overview

AP United States History

The AP course provides a general overview of the history of the United States. Students will explore America’s past, examining the cultural, political, geographical, economical and technological changes that have taken place and have helped to shape the nation today.

Course Overview

12th Grade: Service

Senior year culminates with the skills learned throughout a student’s tenure in the Center. Students combine their leadership, communication, critical thinking and decision making skills to complete rigorous coursework, implement a Capstone Project, and participate in a real-world internship.

Leadership in Action

This course requires students to synthesize the leadership information acquired during their first three years in the Center with the implementation of a service learning Capstone Project and execution of an internship.

Course Overview

AP English Literature and Composition

The AP English Literature and Composition course engages students in the careful reading and critical analysis of literature.

The course includes intensive study of representative works from various genres and periods.

Course Overview

AP US/VA Government and Politics

The AP course in US/VA Government and Politics will give students an analytical perspective on government and politics in the United States. This course includes both the study of general concepts used to interpret US politics and the analysis of specific examples.

Course Overview


Our graduates pursue study in a variety of disciplines. In addition to fundamental skills necessary for success in any career, our Center focuses on leadership, ethical behavior patterns, and real-world challenges.

As a culminating activity, students are required to complete an unpaid internship during the second semester of their senior year. The goal for the internship is two fold: to give the students a meaningful, hands-on experience in a career area of personal interest and to examine the leadership styles exhibited at this particular business.

Objectives for the internship program:

  • To give students hands-on experiences
  • To learn about their possible career interests
  • To observe leadership modules used at particular businesses
  • To obtain meaningful experiences and life skills
  • To apply skills learned in Leadership classes
  • To receive guidance from internship hosts.

“I had no idea what to expect as a high school intern in a molecular genetics research lab at the Massey Cancer Center. I hardly knew anything about cancer biology, and I thought it would take me awhile to learn the ropes. But on the first day I jumped right in and learned pipetting techniques, how to pass cells, and how to run DNA gels. It was more than I could have asked for; it put me ahead of some of my peers at Johns Hopkins University and helped me land a spot in Dr. Denis Wirtz’s lab in the spring of my freshman year.

-Matthew Williams, Graduate


Application Process

Welcome and thank you for your interest in the Center for Leadership & International Relations at James River High School.

To apply to the Center, please visit and scroll down to Admissions Documents.

  • Please ensure that your middle school counselor is informed of your application, and he or she will forward transcripts and recommendations to our office.
  • Potential applicants and their parents/guardians are encouraged to attend an informative Open House that explains the purpose of the Center, its courses, and student involvement and opportunities.
  • Attendees will hear from current students and also participate in breakout sessions held immediately after the presentation. The breakout sessions will allow students and parents the opportunity to ask specific questions about the Center.

Who do we select?

When selecting students, the following criteria are using in making decisions:

  • Middle school grades
  • Strong application demonstrating leadership, community service, participation in activities, awards, and other interests
  • A confidential recommendation from a 7th or 8th grade English or social studies teacher
  • A second confidential recommendation from a 7th or 8th grade middle school teacher of your choice

Informational Documents

What is CLARITY?

CLARITY is the parent organization supporting the Leadership & International Relations Center. (Chesterfield Leadership And International Relations Inspiring Today’s Youth). We are a non-profit organization whose purpose is to support the students and teachers in the Leadership Center. Via CLARITY, we provide financial and volunteer support for the program.
Membership Information​

As a member of CLARITY, we have many ways for you to be involved in the Center. Please review the list of volunteer opportunities on the membership form.

CLARITY believes that simply attending this Center is not what makes these students real leaders, but it is the action of applying what they learn in the classroom to better our community that will set them apart in their futures.

Please show your support for the Center for Leadership and International Relations by joining CLARITY. Annual membership dues are $35.00 per student.

Membership Form​

How do we support?​

(2) 1,000 Scholarships awarded to seniors
Volunteer support for various events such as specialty center fairs, Open House, hospitality for interviews, and special events
Financial support for student activities and classroom enrichment
Capstone & Internship support

Executive Board

CLARITY President
Joshua Jeyasingh

Center Director
Ashley Hewlett

VP Student Affairs
Julia Dorsey

VP Community Enrichment
Gena Reeder

Janet Stevens

Capstone Project Treasurer
Frank Murphy

Lora Franklin

Standing Committees


Jayda Justus


Doug Pasquinelli

International Relations

Kathy Acker


Amber VanderMeer


Douglas Winiarski


Kecia Ryan

Care & Hospitality

Meg Baly

Kelly McCall


Sharon Azula

Class Representatives:

Senior: Jane Crooks

Junior: Erin Bacon

Sophomore: Melanie Rapp

Freshman: Amy Broocke