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Leadership (L.E.A.D.)

Learn · Educate · Achieve · Develop

The Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School Leadership Program is inspired by the legacy of Catherine McAuley and traditions of Mercy. Rooted in the Critical Concerns of the Sisters of Mercy - earth, immigration, nonviolence, racism, and women - Gwynedd educates and empowers young women to become prudent, ethical leaders of action and conviction. 

Role models like Catherine prove women make great leaders. Yet, research compiled in 2016 by the Harvard Graduate School of Education found that teen girls continue to face a powerful barrier to leadership: an unconscious gender bias from adults, other teens and even themselves. Alarmingly, while women hold almost 52 percent of all professional-level jobs in the country, their representation in top leadership positions in a broad range of fields—such as equity law partners, medical school deans, and corporate executive officers—remains stuck at a mere 10 percent to 20 percent.

Gwynedd is committed to helping our graduates shatter more “glass ceilings” and be positioned to make an even greater impact in the world. The program is designed to champion ethical leadership, develop leadership competencies, inspire change agents, encourage career exploration, promote diversity, develop global competency, and combat unconscious gender bias among adults and teens themselves.


Student Internships

The student internships are a stipend position. It is estimated that an internship should involve a total of 50 hours per school year.  It should not take the place of volunteer activities done by clubs, etc.  Upon completion of the program, interns will receive a stipend of $500. 

  • Interns will be selected by completing a short essay on what they bring to the internship and submitting it to the director sponsoring the internship.   
  • Interns will have a series of short, weekly meetings with their director.  The purpose of these meetings (which can be 15-30 minutes long) is to brainstorm on projects. A project that fits will have the following characteristics:
    • A project of value to Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School – not busy work- but also a project that doesn’t have a tight deadline. 
    • A project that can realistically be completed within the timeframe of the internship.
  • Each application should include 2-3 simple goals for the internship – what the student wants to get out of the experience. 
  • The intern will keep track of her hours and submit to the director monthly.

Internship Opportunities


Student Externships

Our Signature Externship Program provides leadership learning in a professional setting. The program fosters personal, educational, and professional growth. Our girls become involved with many companies within our community. 

This program is open to all Juniors, providing our students opportunities to work with extraordinary leaders who are not only role models, but who have made important contributions within their fields. We believe the learning experience begins during the selection process – each student who applies for an externship is interviewed, providing practice and direction on presentation skills and highlighting her strengths and unique qualifications. Students can receive assistance on placement or they may find a business independently. Most externships take place over the summer. All externs must complete 30 hours, keep a journal, and create a presentation for faculty and staff. For more information regarding the Externship program, please contact Director of Leadership Initiatives, Mrs. Jennifer Guarnaccia.

Externship Application



Leadership Programming


"Lead4Change is a Leadership Program, where students make big things happen." This is a Leadership Curriculum with a framework on Community Service. The course is twelve lessons, which teach students to lead and serve. This evidence-based research highlights the growth in student's leadership and social and emotional skills.
Students who complete Lead4Change will be invited/nominated to the LEAD Council. All members of LEAD must be certified in Leadership.



L.E.A.D. Student Conference

Every August, all club leaders and rising Seniors are welcomed back onto campus by participating in the annual leadership conference. Students will learn how to inspire and support each others voices and visions in an ethical manner. The day is filled with breakout sessions focusing on team building skills, speed interviewing, professional style, resume building, and guest speakers. The 2020-2021 guest speaker was Doctor Brandi,

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Student Leadership Council 2020-2021
L.E.A.D. educates the student body on professional development
students in uniform in the gym

Megan Harnett '21, President
Ella Gross '21, Vice President
Sydney Pasceri '21, Secretary
Megan Panacek '21, Treasurer

students in the hallway hanging photos

Carly Andrews '21, Devon Sweeney '21, Eva Carmona Rogina '21, Katherine Denitz '21,
Sahiba Tandon '21, Sarah Opielski '21, Abigail Bernesky '22, Madelyn Gibson '22,
Paige Jalosinski '23, Grace Cheeseman '22, Alexis Borrelli '23, Grace Stetler '22

Our Goals


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To inspire her as a leader, we will provide substantive relevant opportunities that prepare young women for the call of leadership.

Leadership Committee - "Empowered Women Empower Women."



2020 EE Ford Foundation Grant
2020 Lead4Change Foundation Grant
2020 BLBB Charitable Grant


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