The Leonidas Foundation Announces Inception of “Leo Program” at Don Bosco Prep

WYCKOFF, NJ – The Leonidas Foundation and Don Bosco Preparatory High School announce the inception of a new business-focused program which will begin in the 2017-2018 school year.

Named “The LEO Program” for Towaco resident Leonidas “Leo” Vagias, who died in June of 2016, the program is designed to honor him, and serves as an acronym for the program’s core focuses: leadership, entrepreneurship, and opportunity.

The Leonidas Foundation, an organization founded after 19-year-old Vagias’ death, is a charity organized to promote public service and provide humanitarian relief, according to its website.

“It is the mission of this foundation to honor Leo and [Sam Cali’s lives] by doing good for others, in doing so we know that he will never truly leave us,” according to the website. The foundation’s hashtag is #LeoUniteUs; friends and family members comprise the board. Fellow Don Bosco student and Towaco resident Sam Cali also perished in the accident.

The highly selective program will be run through the school of business at Don Bosco Prep and will offer participating students an unparalleled means by which to enhance their business knowledge and skills, according to a release from the foundation.

The Leonidas Foundation will be providing funding for starting and maintaining the program, and supporting a curriculum of leadership and entrepreneurship courses, along with guest speakers from the private, public and non-profit sectors. In addition it intends to organize a multi-day retreat to Washington D.C., where students will experience various leadership styles within the private, public and non-profit sectors, and a trip to Wilmington, Delaware where students will be able to see and experience a state run innovation lab for incubating startup companies. In addition it will assist with summer internship placement that will help students retain, absorb and put to the test what they have learned, according to the release.

“The LEO Program will combine entrepreneurship lessons with an experiential approach to traditional business subjects,” said program director and Don Bosco teacher John Esposito. “Classroom teachers, coaches, and mentors will prepare students to create and develop their own product or service.”

Esposito is currently constructing an online application and questionnaire to vet and select highly qualified and motivated students to participate in the program, while compiling a list of professionals, coaches, and mentors. This collaborative program will afford students the chance to be taught by experienced business, civic, military, and sports leaders, according to the foundation.

"We are very excited to have this chance to provide such amazing opportunity to young men at Don Bosco,” said Leonidas Foundation President Matthew Perricone. “While extremely important, this program is just a portion of our planned outreach this year. We plan to continue our commitment to serving the poor and distressed ‘underdogs’ in the coming year through many initiatives. We thank you for your continued support as we honor our friends and brothers Leo and Sam."