Washington, D.C. – The L.E.O. Program students of Don Bosco Preparatory High School attended an extraordinary summer learning program in Washington, D.C. from June 24 to 29.

The L.E.O. Program was established at Don Bosco Prep in 2017 as a one-of-a-kind business education experience, in memory of Towaco resident Leo Vagias, who was killed in a car accident in 2016. Vagias was a graduate of the school.

The first L.E.O. Program Summer Leadership Conference, hosted by The Leonidas Foundation in conjunction with Mason Harriman Group and The Catholic University of America, was a rousing success.  Accompanied by Matthew Perricone, President of The Leonidas Foundation; John Esposito, LEO Program Director; and Teddy Vagias, Leo Vagias' father, 17 young men traveled from Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J. to Washington, D.C. for this multi-faceted experience.

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Upon their arrival in our nation's capital, the L.E.O. students immediately commenced their learning experience at Mason Harriman Group's corporate headquarters.  There, they were addressed by 18 current and former executives from different levels and departments of the federal government in a series of interactive sessions.

Topics discussed by the speakers included academic and career advice, anecdotes about their own paths to their current roles in the government, and experiences within the world of business and public service.

Panelists included Secretary and C-level executives from over 15 departments in the federal government. They represented the departments of Interior, Treasury, Homeland Security, Defense, Agriculture, Commerce, Transportation, and all five branches of the military, including one admiral and a general. The panelists’ breadth of experience and expertise allowed for L.E.O. students to gain an understanding of the government and its workings.

The L.E.O. Program ambassadors then spent the next six days attending the Busch School Summer Business Institute at The Catholic University of America. This entrepreneur-focused summer institution provided a wide array of offerings to enrich the mind, body and spirit of the young scholars who attended, focusing on the core values of the L.E.O. Program: leadership, entrepreneurship, and opportunity, all while working to create entrepreneurs with a social conscience.

"This was truly an incredible experience for everyone involved," said Perricone. "The amount of learning and mentoring that took place this week was not just inspiring for our L.E.O. program students, but for the presenters, speakers, and educators as well. Our L.E.O. students came to Washington looking to learn more about our federal government and its intersection with business and entrepreneurship. They left Washington understanding that, and much more." 

The Leonidas Foundation established a $100,000 endowment at Don Bosco Prep to commence the L.E.O. Program's activities in 2017, showing its commitment to promoting academic excellence and an interactive business learning experience for the young men selected to participate. 

For more information on The Leonidas Foundation, including upcoming events, background, and information on how to become involved, please visit their website at http://www.leouniteus.org/ or email leonidasfoundation@gmail.com.

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