Latino Education and Advancement Program

Introducing Richmond-area Latino students to the fundamentals of independent school educational and academic experiences.

"It was a magical summer welcoming 18 students of Hispanic heritage and their families to The Steward School. The bilingual atmosphere, camaraderie, and their willingness to learn were refreshing and rewarding." - Melanie Rodriguez, Director of LEAP

The Latino Education and Advancement Program (LEAP) is the flagship program of The Steward School’s Avanzando (“moving forward”) Latino Education Initiative. LEAP has been introducing Richmond-area Latino students to the fundamentals of independent school educational and academic experiences since 2007. Moreover, this four-week summer program enriches and supports the education of Latino students no matter what school they attend currently or in the future.

LEAP is targeted to rising eighth-grade Latino students. The program offers a rigorous, enriched college-preparatory curriculum in ESL, Spanish, math, and technology, with segments on study skills and English language skills.

2014 Steward graduate, Michael Cevallos, was named a Gates Millennium Scholar—1 of only 1,000 selected students out of 58,000 applicants. After earning the award, Michael Cevallos says, "Earning the Gates Millennium Scholarship is the product of four years of persistence and hard work. As a Steward LEAP student, I had the freedom to discover who I am. I took challenging classes, discovered a love for the violin, served as treasurer of the National Honor Society, played varsity soccer and futsal, and participated in the Spanish and ping pong clubs. I challenged myself, learned from my mistakes, and kept growing. As a result, I have the self-confidence to tackle anything."

Parents are invited to participate in various components of the program, and they will be guided by admissions representatives should they wish to apply for admission to an independent school.

LEAP Director Melanie Rodriguez explains, “We are reaching out to area youth at a critical age—their academic and personal interests are growing, but the educational and social opportunities available to them may be limiting. LEAP seeks to bridge the gap between the two.” The ultimate goal of LEAP is to offer opportunities to Richmond-area Latino youth that enable—and empower—these students to prepare for the future.

Meet the Director

Melanie Rodriguez
Upper School Spanish Teacher and Director of LEAP (804) 740-3394 ext. 5548


Steward Voices

Steward is an atmosphere that fosters confidence—something we have seen in all three of our kids. Whether it is playing a new sport, running for a seat on the Honor Council, or singing a solo on Talent Night, they have been encouraged to try, to experience, and to grow.
- Dan and Kathi Campbell, Parents of Abbie ’19, Emma ’17, and Ben ’14

Steward Voices

Steward is the right place for Micah and Kiri because they are able to develop strong connections with their teachers, which in turn facilitates confidence and resilience in their learning. Everyone at Steward knows your name and makes you feel so welcome.
- Paul and Janet Yoon, Parents of Kiri ’27 and Micah ’26

Steward Voices

Steward helped me develop the skills I needed to succeed in college and the courage and confidence to set competitive career goals for myself. But, these skills weren’t lessons I learned just in Steward’s classrooms; they came from the athletic fields, in the hallways, and during Honor Council meetings, too.
- Grace Henderson ’10

Steward Voices

Steward provides Andrew with a nurturing environment which fosters his individualism, develops exemplary character traits, and continuously provides him with creative learning experiences. Consequently, Andrew ‘loves’ school and anticipates each day with joy, enthusiasm, and excitement.
- Betsy Jollay, Grandmother of Andrew O’Leary ’25

Steward Voices

I love all that The Steward School has done for Trace. Steward has uncovered Trace’s talents, celebrated his individuality, and strengthened his belief in himself. The faculty and staff offer an amazing balance of challenge and comfort, encouraging the best from all students. I can’t imagine Trace being anywhere else. Thank you, Steward School.
- Ron Coles, Father of Trace Coles ’19 and Grade 5 Teacher

Steward Voices

Being a member of The Steward School international program has been an awesome experience. The community has helped me tremendously along the way.
- Bowen Chen ’15

Copyright 2014 The Steward School

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