Two teams of students from New Dorp High School recently won first and third place in the U.S. Network of Virtual Enterprises (VE) state-wide competition for New York. As the teams, VE Law and VE Management & Insurance, prepare to head to the 2009 National Business Plan Competition to be held in Manhattan next week, Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro, CSI President Dr. Tomás Morales, and others joined together today to recognize this achievement and provide feedback, strategies, and insights as a last-minute fine-tuning to help increase the students preparedness before heading to national competition.

UPDATED March 27, 2009: Congratulations to VE Management & Insurance for their outstanding 2nd place finish in the nationwide finals! VE Law placed in the top six.

New Dorp High School student Teddy DeVitto, CEO of VE Management & Insurance Co., says, “from the [VE] program, I’ve gotten leadership skills and I’ve learned the value of teamwork. I’ve always been an independent person, but working in VE has taught me to rely on others because there is only so much that one person can do.” DeVitto also mentions that VE has instilled a sense of patience in him as he serves as the mediator among the different personalities in his enterprise.

“The Virtual Enterprise Program has been a great success at teaching students leadership skills, teamwork, and educational concepts,” said Staten Island Borough President James Molinaro while distributing certificates of accomplishment and “magic” pens to the students. “I congratulate all of the participants, and am confident that with the skills they have learned as part of VE, they will be successful in their future endeavors. I also would like to wish them much success at the 2009 National Business Plan Competition.”

“I am extremely proud of the student teams from New Dorp High School, as they represent my Alma Mater. And as an alumnus of CSI, I am also proud of the college’s commitment to helping them achieve their personal best,” said Herman Dawson, Deputy Commissioner & General Counsel with New York City’s Department of Juvenile Justice. “Given my line of work, I am also especially proud to see young people take this direction and perform so well. These teams exemplify excellence, and their dedication to success is evident. They are a source of pride for New Dorp, CSI and Staten Island. They represent all that our young people can be, and are winning examples of what students can achieve.”

Noting that CSI and New Dorp High School have a close relationship, Dean Balsamini, Director of the Small Business Development Center at CSI, and one of today’s guests, says “We decided to give them a Staten Island send-off…and give them an appropriate honor and acknowledgment of what they’ve accomplished.”

According to Balsamini, Virtual Enterprise competition involves students in creating business plans for virtual businesses, presenting those plans to a panel of experienced judges, and fielding rigorous questions from them.

Today’s event will also give the students much-needed practice so that they can compete most effectively in the nationals. Commenting that today’s guests will “judge the students’ presentations from a different perspective and for the very first time,” DeVitto says that this will add a new and important dimension of insight as the teams compete next week.

New Dorp student Michael Williams, the CEO of VE Law, adds, “Coming into the College of Staten Island is always a good thing, especially when you come in to get feedback from the best and brightest that this College has to offer.” In regard to the interaction with the experts that the students were able to experience today, Williams states, “This prepares us for those questions that you don’t practice for….Being able to get questions from people who really understand the business world from a marketing point of view, from a financial point of view, definitely helped us because we understand that we’re going to get some judges next week who are going to go straight for you as per what they do in their companies.”

Mary Beth Reilly, Interim Assistant Vice President for Enrollment Management, in her comments to the students, said that the skills gained in this competition will carry through all aspects of these students’ lives. “Today’s program is a celebration of all that you have accomplished,” she told them. “We, at CSI, share in your success.”

Other dignitaries on hand for the send-off were John Jastremski, Associate Director, Virtual Enterprise in New York City; Deirdre DeAngelis, Principal, New Dorp High School; Paul Presti, Teacher, Virtual Enterprise Coordinator, New Dorp High School and the mentor for the teams in this year’s competition; Dr. William Fritz, Provost, CSI; Emmanuel Esperance, Director of Recruitment and Admissions, CSI; and Prof. Thomas Tellefsen, Business Professor, CSI.

Photos from the event can be found at the CSI Today Photo Services Web page at:

New Dorp student Michael Williams presents the VE Law business plan to a panel of CSI Experts