A Huntington High School Virtual Enterprise class has created a business that is more than just another corporation; it’s like a family with everyone pitching in and supporting each other as they work together to make the initiative a successful one.
Students thought long and hard before naming their business ABODE, which is an acronym for Apparel Built on Destinations Everywhere. The company’s executives include Ethan Mulroy (chief executive officer), Lena Annunziata (chief operating officer), Chas Forte (vice president-administration), Cameron Mills (chief financial officer), Jonathan Munoz (vice-president-design/IT), Lia Shechter (vice president-marketing) and Luke Farrell (vice-president-human resources). Veteran faculty member Suzi Biagi serves as the teacher assigned to the class. (Business teacher Paige Tyree teaches another section of the course.)
Huntington business teacher Suzi Biagi.
The full-year, one credit business class is available to juniors and seniors. “Virtual Enterprise is a simulated business that is set-up and run by students to prepare them for working in a real business environment,” according to the high school’s course bulletin.
Every employee is working hard and making contributions to ABODE’s success. The firm’s motto is: “A little piece of home wherever you go.”
“We are a company that manufactures clothing that is designed and catered to local destinations throughout the world,” states the company’s website. “Whether you are a student starting the next chapter of your life, a family starting a new adventure or just somebody that loves where they live, our company gives you the opportunity to take a little piece of home with you wherever you go.”
The 21 member employee team is completely committed to making its business a success. “We all are dedicated to our family here at ABODE and want to put all our effort into this,” according to the company website. “ABODE is our home away from home.”
The company’s mission “is to create a brand that reminds people of home and all of its importance.” The firm is committed to giving back “to the place that have provided us with so much,” so it plans to donate a portion of its profits to local organizations.
“I could not be prouder of my students,” Mrs. Biagi said. “We are so much more than a firm; we are a family. People work so hard applying their talents and quite frankly their ‘grit.’ I have the ultimate confidence in our success this year and can’t wait to see how our first year firm, ABODE grows both personally and academically.”
“Mrs. Biagi is the absolute perfect teacher for this class,” junior Holly Wright said. “She allows us to be independent, but is always there for us. She helps us so much. This class and company wouldn’t be possible without her.”
Another student-employee praised the company’s CEO and COO, stating “Ethan Mulroy is a great leader and a pleasure to work for and Lena Annunziata is always there to help and really does keep this company on track.”
The company’s reputation is growing in Virtual Enterprise circles, both regionally and nationally. ABODE was recently listed in the VE Top 50, “a composite method to identify the top firms nationally by measuring engagement and achievement of targeted initiatives throughout the year,” according to a nationwide brief issued by the program.
The team concept permeates every aspect of each day at the business. “ABODE is not only a company, but a family of hardworking students who strive to bring this firm to new heights,” Mr. Mulroy said.
“Our company and business idea is based on the fact that we love where we live,” Ms. Annunziata said. “The opportunity and real-world experience it has given each of us is indispensable to our future endeavors in the business world. A huge thank you to Mrs. Biagi and Mrs. Tyree for guiding us through this process. We are so grateful for all the tools they have given us to be successful.”