Mount St. Mary Academy heads to SAGE International

Aug 9, 2017

Two teams from Mount St. Mary Academy High School in Kenmore will be headed to Ukraine Wednesday.  WBFO's senior reporter says the students are finalists who will be competing in Students for the Advancement of Global Entrepreneurship known as SAGE.


The international competition for SAGE is this Saturday.  SAGE, a nonprofit program, encouraging high school entrepreneurs. We met with three of the team members at Mount St. Mary.

Kaitlin Brill, Emily Bingham & Marissa Brandel are three of six team members.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

“Kaitlin Brill, I’ll be a junior, Emily Bingham and I will also be a junior. Marissa Brandel and I will be a junior as well,” stated the students.

Mount St. Mary won the national championship at the SAGE USA competition in Las Vegas.  In fact the all-girls high-school actually had two of its teams win qualifying both to compete internationally

“Our school ended up taking both championships and that we are the only delegation from the United States – which is crazy because in previous years that has never happened,” Brandel explained.     

Outside Mount St. Mary Academy on Delaware Avenue in Kenmore.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Brandel is from Team Essence where her group won for the Social Responsible Business. They created essential oils and other all organic and natural aromatherapy products that they say it can help you de-stress.

“For example, our vanilla spray, which is our best seller right now – because it helps you sleep, people put it on the bottom of their feet or on their pillow. We used distilled water, vanilla extract and then our special, essential oils,” Brandel remarked.

Essence room sprays created by Mount St. Mary Academy SAGE team.
Credit Photo provided by Marissa Brandel

“What did they look for in the competition that brought you this far,” Buckley asked.

“They gave us a rubric to kind of follow for our presentation to talk about how we helped the planet and how we plan to continue on our business – things like that – so they know how serious our business truly is and we had to just go up and present every detail of our business from financials to our social medias and we had to show them what our product does. They didn’t get to use our product at the actually presentation, but afterwards we had a trade booth sale and we sold over 100-bottles to the judges because they were so intrigued about what our product was and how it can help you,” Brandel responded.   

A total of 30-countries will competing. Each team is given 30 minutes, 20 for their presentation and ten minutes for the judges to review a four page report and then ask team members’ questions.

“So our business is a team marketing group essentially. As a business our goal is to really impact our community,” said Brill and Bingham.

Brill and Bingham are on Team Business Buzz and won for Social Enterprise Business. They are a marketing group for community activation. Colvin Cleaners reached out to the high school team to get the word out about their annual Gowns for Proms program to reach more young women than ever, who can't afford a prom dress.

“We all got to actually go on the Shea’s floor and work the distribution event, which after doing all of the work on the news and the social media it was really super rewarding because these girls are just like us and to see them – the smiles on their faces as they were sorting the gowns – it was just incredible because it was so rewarding because we had was something they didn’t have, but helping them get that – it holds a special place in your heart,” Bingham reflected.

“Some girls we helped, they didn’t’ even speak English, but we were able to find their dress and just make them so confident in their selves and in their own school communities, so I thought that was very important,” Brill said. 

Kaitlin Brill, Emily Bingham & Marissa Brandel chat about their championship.
Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

Mount St. Mary has taken home the national championship three years in a row. 

“What is it going to be for you – just to go into that country (Ukraine), to be traveling internationally and having this opportunity,” questioned Buckley.

“I think it will be so exciting, for me especially. For all the girls, there are parent chaperons, but I’m not traveling with my parents, so that’s something that is going to be new for me and I think it is really empowering that we are all girl teams and we’re traveling together and we are representing the united states,” Brill responded.

“I’m very excited to be back with SAGE. I actually went to the same competition last year in the Philippines for a different purpose, but it was such a great experience and I’m so excited to meet so many new people because all of these kids, that have projects like ours, are so incredible and what they’re doing is just mind-blowing – that they can do that at such a young age, so I am excited for the experience,” Bingham replied.

“And it is just so honoring that our school could do this together and we could all be able to do this journey together – and just to think that we are going to be like the Americans representing in Ukraine is going to be so humbling and amazing,” declared Brandel.