National WWII Museum interior with hanging airplanes

Student Leadership Academy

A summer learning experience at The National WWII Museum in New Orleans
June 19-25, 2022

Tour Overview

Immerse yourself in the collection of The National WWII Museum by experiencing seven days of thoughtful inquiry, group activities, and character building at Student Leadership Academy in New Orleans. Join other high school and college students from around the country for this extraordinary summer learning opportunity to study WWII history and leadership at one of the world’s top-rated museums.

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Student Leadership Academy Highlights

Each session is rooted in the Museum’s collection utilizing oral histories, public exhibits, first-person live interviews with World War II and Iraqi Freedom veterans

Behind the scenes experience in the Collections Vault

Students will hear from World War II guest scholars and leaders in the Museum field. No other student training in the country has such complete access to scholarly and industry leaders.

Field trips around New Orleans bring the 300+ year history of the city to life and offers an unmatched opportunity to learn from one of the most unique cities in the United States.

Students will construct their own personalized leadership guide throughout the week. Their guide book will become a vital tool for future leadership roles in their school and community.

In coordination with Student Leadership Academy, students have the option to earn college credit through the online course Topics in WWII History, a course that examines common themes and decisions made during World War II. Through readings, artifact investigations at The National WWII Museum, and online discussion forums, students analyze the major elements of World War II with an emphasis on strategic and moral dilemmas.

Students can enroll in an online course through Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, Louisiana, that will be instructed by a history professor and moderated by Museum staff. Assignments will include discussions and papers on assigned readings and a travel portfolio. Assignments will be graded, and students who pass the course will earn three credit hours.

Tour Inclusions 

  • Male and female chaperones
  • Pre-tour communication with Museum Education staff member
  • Pre-tour readings and books
  • Roundtrip airport transfers (when arriving and departingon scheduled group tour dates)
  • On-campus accommodations at the all-new Higgins Hotel and Conference Center
  • Behind-the-scenes access at The National WWII Museum
  • Exclusive dinner with a WWII historian or author
  • Entrance fees to all sites, museums, and historic attractions in itinerary 
  • Video oral history presentations from the Museum collection
  • Motor coach transportation to off-site field trips
  • Gratuities to guides, drivers, porters, and servers
  • Six breakfasts, five lunches, and six dinners (all meals during the program)

Apply Now!

Secure your spot by applying for a scholarship now. Scholarship applications for the 2022 Student Leadership Academy are now open!

Apply for a Scholarship Book Your Trip
Student Leadership Academy

Tour Itinerary

Full Program Overview

Day 1 - Eisenhower's Own Words

Arrival in New Orleans

Students arrive into Louis Armstrong International Airport or are dropped off at the Higgins Hotel and Conference Center on the campus of The National WWII Museum.  This evening, the students are introduced to Eisenhower’s five leadership traits - Selfless Dedication, Courage and Conviction, Fortitude, Thorough Homework, Power of Persuasion - during a team building session followed by a group dinner.


Accommodations: Higgins Hotel and Conference Center (D)

Day 2 - Selfless Dedication

Each instructional day begins with an activity called What Would You Do? that will help frame Eisenhower’s five leadership traits within the larger World War II story. Today, students are introduced to five leadership qualities that support the Selfless Dedication trait: Service Leadership, Humility, Commitment, Mission and Purpose, and Those we Lead /Those we Serve.  Students will focus on leaders as servants and team builders. Also, students will have the opportunity to  interact with a local World War II veteran. The closing speaker of the day is the Museum’s Vice President of Education. Using his own experience as a Colonel in the United States Army, Col Peter Crean discusses the importance of Selfless Dedication and the five leadership qualities that create the foundation of Selfless Dedication.

Accommodations: Higgins Hotel and Conference Center (B, L, D)

What Would You Do? Interactive in the US Freedom Pavilion
Day 3 - Courage and Conviction

Today, a leading scholar from Nicholls State University will join the group to a visit of the Chalmette Battlefield and National Cemetery and Jackson’s Barracks, Headquarters of the Louisiana National Guard. While on the field trip, students explore the traits of Decisiveness, Conquer Fear, Always on the Job, and Live by Example. They will identify those traits during their exploration of the Chalmette Museum and Jackson's Barracks museum. In the National Cemetery students will identify one soldier among the headstones who they wish to learn more about. Student research on a soldier from the past explores the ideas of sacrifice and reinforces concepts of mission and purpose. The closing speaker of the day is Dr. Ed Lengel, Senior Director of Programming, who will sit down with a visiting scholar and explore the traits of Compromise and Management during World War II.

Accommodations: Higgins Hotel and Conference Center (B, L, D)

Day 4 - Fortitude of Spirit

Step into the Collections Vault with the curators of The National WWII Museum to view artifacts that are not currently on display to the public. Explore ethics and values during a presentation from guest speakers and learn more about Japanese American internment during the war.  Learn more on trust by playing a custom game developed specifically for the Student Leadership Academy. This evening, Associate Vice President Gemma Birnbaum will join students for dinner and speak about teamwork, building a team, and how Together, Everyone Achieves More.

Accommodations: Higgins Hotel and Conference Center (B, L, D)

Behind The Lines
Day 5 - Thorough Homework

This morning,students are immersed in the Road to Berlin exhibit, and explore the Normandy D-Day exhibits. After lunch, students will meet veterans of Iraqi Freedom and discuss how situational leadership is applied in real-life/modern war experiences. The scholar from Nicholls State University rejoins the group to present on effective communication. The day ends with the students presenting their research on the soldier they selected from the Chalmette National Battlefield.

Accommodations: Higgins Hotel and Conference Center (B, L, D)

Day 6 - Power of Persuasion

The morning activities are center around translating core values into action.  After lunch, students embark on a tour of the French Quarter, New Orleans's oldest and most vibrant neighborhood.

Accommodations: Higgins Hotel and Conference Center (B, L, D)

Day 7 - City Park, New Orleans Museum of Art, and the WPA

Students spend the morning visiting New Orleans City Park and the New Orleans Museum of Art. Both the park and museum were important Works Progress Administration (WPA) projects. The young leaders will be joined by Director of Education, Abbie Edens, to explore the WPA and learn how history and memory is expressed through art. Students depart for the airport before lunch.


Student Leadership Academy

What You'll Learn

Experience History

Not only will students have the unique opportunity to study WWII history at one of the world's top-rated museums, they will also venture out to historic sites in the community—including the Chalmette National Battlefield and the French Quarter—and meet some of the men and women who experienced WWII firsthand.

Students in Normandy with gun

Objectives & Academic Benefits

  • Explore the strategies and decisions that led to Allied victory in Europe and the Pacific
  • Identify and make connections to leadership traits integral to Allied victory in World War II that are relevant to college and career paths
  • Learn and develop leadership skills
  • Develop research skills through both primary and secondary source research
  • Write clear and concise content for a specific audience of peers and museum professionals
  • Improve presentation and debate skills by presenting to both their peers and museum professionals
  • Identify the major theaters of World War II (Europe, Pacific, Home Front)
  • Learn through the personal stories of those who were there
Student Leadership Academy

Exclusive Experiences

Jackson Barracks

The headquarters of the Louisiana National Guard, Jackson Barracks was authorized by President Andrew Jackson in 1832. Known originally as New Orleans Barracks, its location downriver from the city of New Orleans and its proximity to the forts protecting the city was strategic. Jackson's memories of the War of 1812—and the Battle of New Orleans, in particular—led to the realization that many of the country's coastal cities lacked adequate protection from an attack by sea.

In 1848, Jackson Barracks was receiving wounded soldiers from the Mexican-American War, and a federal hospital was added onsite in 1849. During the Civil War, Confederate forces controlled the barracks for less than one year after Louisiana's secession in 1861. After the war, the site was officially named Jackson Barracks.

Jackson Barracks served as a staging ground and port of embarkation during World War I and World War II. Between the wars, the barracks was granted to the Louisiana National Guard. It was brought under federal control again during World War II, before reverting back to state control after the war.

In 2005, Jackson Barracks was nearly destroyed by up to 20 feet of water released by the levee breeches during Hurricane Katrina. The Jackson Barracks Military Museum's collection suffered, but the archivists and curators have worked diligently to restore documents, photographs, and artifacts central to Louisiana's military history.

Student Leadership Academy

Expert Educator

LaToya Bailey Williams

LaToya Bailey Williams serves as the Student Programs Specialist for The National WWII Museum. She received her Bachelor's degree in History from Nicholls State University and her Master's in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Social Studies from Concordia University - Nebraska. LaToya is certified to teach both Social Studies and Special Education. She spent 15 years as a classroom teacher and one year as a social studies coordinator for Jefferson Parish Schools. LaToya coordinates the National History Day contests in Louisiana, leads both Normandy Academy and Student Leadership Academy, and manages Get in the Scrap!, the Museum's national service learning project.

Student Leadership Academy


Student Leadership Academy: $975 with hotel accommodation, $790 without hotel accommodation

Note: Course fees will be added to the final invoice for students enrolling in the college course for three credit hours with Nicholls State University.

Scholarship applications are now open. The deadline is April 8, 2022.


Student Leadership Academy


This program is part of a series commemorating the 75th anniversary of the end of World War II made possible by the Department of Defense.