With the help of friends and family, Leigh developed a business plan for her fledgling business and entered it in the annual Piedmont Entrepreneurial Network’s new business competition. To her surprise, Classical Conversations won, and Leigh received expert business training, mentoring and startup capital. In 2001 Classical Conversations incorporated.
Never one to rest on her laurels, Leigh realized she needed a program to bridge the Grammar stage of the Foundations program and the Rhetoric stage of the Challenge program. The Dialectic stage was missing, so Leigh and her circle of faithful friends began the Essentials program to bridge the gap in 2004. Essentials helps late elementary-age students develop the language arts and writing skills they need to communicate effectively through junior high, high school, and beyond.
“If little Leigh Bortins can get a thousand kids in this program doing it part-time, what would happen if we really focused on this?” she asked herself in 2004. Her question would be answered in dramatic fashion over the next decade.