Cate’s Spotlight: Local School Team Puts In Hard Work On Case Studies

Some local students have been hard at work.

Credit: Submitted

Achieving the highest levels of performance requires powerful belief, not only in oneself but in one’s team, in the part each plays in the bigger picture.

Case Studies are common in university settings, but Villa Joseph Marie’s ethics-based case study competition was the first of its kind at the high school level. This premier, private, all-girls college preparatory academically comprehensive experience in Bucks County is ALWAYS Cutting Edge…. NOT Cutting Corners, empowering young women, well prepared for responsible moral leadership.

Always more, Always better, Always with love.

The concept was inspired by the global leadership of the Sisters of St. Casimir, and it provided an opportunity to showcase the power of a strong moral compass when making key leadership decisions, a welcome addition to the rigorous instructional programs.

“Our Sisters are showcased as an example of what intentional, responsible, long-term planning looks like, and those skills are crucial for our students’ future success,” stated VJM President, Jeanne M. Frawley, VJM ’94.

High moral performance is a mindset, a process, and a commitment to a culture of excellence.

Villa Joseph Marie Director of Outreach, Christine Zecca Caltabiano ’98 welcomed all into classrooms and the Performing Arts Center [PAC], a state-of-the-art, 600-seat auditorium, on Saturday, December 9, 2023, for its inaugural pilot program that included breakfast and lunch.

After many intense hours of preparation under Christine’s adept guidance, eight confident and nimble minded student teams opted to review, investigate a business problem, examine the alternative solutions, and propose the most effective solution using supporting evidence. They wrote cases from industry leaders about how their faith informs boardroom decisions, and then presented their qualitative recommendations to a team of four amazing judges:
Father Kevin DePrinzio, VP for Mission & Ministry [Villanova University],
Joe D’Angelo, Dean of Erivan K. Haub School of Business [St. Joseph’s University],
Stephanie Schwartzberg, EVP Chief Legal & Risk Officer [Penn Community Bank], and
Sonja Foster Storch, Chief Growth Officer [POCN].

Kudos to Caltabiano! Well-reasoned comments were presented with poise and the participants were exceptionally well prepared with tightly constructed presentations.

She even recruited Tracy Davidson – NBC10 who graciously agreed to help prep the students.

They definitely made this competition come to life with their hard work.

Judges’ comments included “well prepared” and “clearly knew their stuff!”

Christine confirmed, “I am so proud of the teams’ efforts. It has been such a rewarding experience to work with the students and have the opportunity to get to know them.”

Crafting opening and closing remarks required each student to consolidate a tremendous amount of material into a short narrative that presented a compelling, coherent “story” of the case.

Case Study participation is more than just an academic exercise as it sharpens critical thinking and teamwork skills that will serve them well throughout their lifetimes. It is perfect for students passionate about law, those interested in public speaking and telling an engaging story, or in problem-solving, as well as an extremely fulfilling extracurricular activity to pursue in the development of many crucial skills from teamwork to critical analysis.

Thanks to the generosity and vision of the Ambassador’s Fund, a dedicated advocate for Catholic education in the Philadelphia region, VJM was able to extend this opportunity.

A tradition of excellence has been set; a testament to a better tomorrow.

An expanded program will happen in April, including travel to Chicago.

Caltabiano and Frawley accompanied VJM students to both non-profit and for-profit businesses in Philadelphia to learn first-hand how successful leaders maintain their mission while managing the bottom line.

The student-written cases were then distributed to competing teams at VJM, Holy Ghost Prep and Malvern Prep.

Profile business leaders included Tina D’Orazio, SVP & Chief of Staff for the Philadelphia Eagles; Kevin Mahoney, CEO of Penn Medicine; and Corinne O’Connell, CEO of Habitat for Humanity Philadelphia.

These cases, based on the interviews, will serve as the foundation for a regional high school case study competition while they provided a unique and most memorable event.

The goal is that the networking, engagement with universities, and the ultimate delivery of an online case study library will all help develop ethical, purposeful future business leaders.

Winners were announced and the teams all proudly sported their gifted SJU beanies.
1st Place: Malvern Prep – Habitat for Humanity team * awarded SJU scholarship monies.
2nd Place: VJM – Penn Medicine team
3rd Place: Malvern Prep- Philadelphia Eagles team

Credit: Submitted

Villa Joseph Marie’s emphasis on education, building the future one student at a time, and encouraging the potential and uniqueness of each, produces graduates more experienced than their peers, providing them with a variety of resources to enrich the curriculum, moving beyond traditional classroom boundaries, beyond just textbooks and lab manuals, making them better positioned for success.

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About the author

Cate Murway