MSDA Hosts First L.E.O. Program Pinning Ceremony


The Mount's inaugural L.E.O. cohort pose with Teddy Vagias, Fran Vagias, and Alex Cucciniello of the Leonidas Foundation.

On November 21, 2019, Mount Saint Dominic Academy hosted the first L.E.O. Program Pinning Ceremony to officially welcome the inaugural cohort of students into the L.E.O. Program, created by the Leonidas Foundation.

Students processed in, eagerly awaiting to hear remarks from Mr. Teddy Vagias and Mr. Alex Cucciniello of the Leonidas Foundation. Additionally, students, parents, and faculty in attendance heard from the Mount’s own Sister Fran Sullivan, Dr. Muoio, Ms. Zosche, and Katerina Holevas ’21. The evening’s keynote speaker was Mount alumnae Jessica Iacullo ’13, whose food-themed Instagram page sprouted into a media business. She shared her words of wisdom from the perspective of a Mount graduate. Following the speakers, students received pins from Mrs. Fran Vagias as well as a briefcase filled with supplies to start all of our own business plans from representatives of the Leonidas Foundation.

The Leonidas Foundation is a charity created after Leonidas Vagias passed away in 2016. To continue Leo’s legacy, his family and friends organized a charity to “promote public service and provide humanitarian relief.” They focus on the principles of mind, body, and spirit. To keep Leo’s memory alive, the foundation created a business and entrepreneurship program for students at Don Bosco Prep. The Mount is the second school in the nation and first all girls school to run the L.E.O. Program.

The L.E.O. program highlights three aspects: leadership, entrepreneurship, and opportunity. It is a two-year business course that aims to mold future entrepreneurs, politicians, influencers, and overall leaders of the future. The program runs over four semesters and includes a summer course, each segment focusing on a different aspect of the ‘real world.’

The L.E.O. program highlights three aspects: leadership, entrepreneurship, and opportunity.”

The student cohort begins with a microeconomics course, followed by LEO I. Over the summer, students participate in a multiday trip to Washington D.C. which provides opportunities to network and interact with leaders from a variety of industries. Once school begins again, students partake in LEO II, the continuation of LEO I. During the course of the program, students work in teams to develop a business model while developing life skills: public speaking, problem solving, critical and creative thinking, and teamwork, to name a few. After the completion of their business model, students pitch their product in a Shark Tank-style presentation. A semester of macroeconomics, a big picture outlook on our economy, marks the completion of the program.

By attending events with the Leonidas Foundation, such as their annual golf outing or their annual kickoff event, students in the program have many networking opportunities.

To become part of the program for the 2019-2020 school year, a group of 17 rising juniors went through an application and interview process before their acceptance into the program.

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