Dr. Sylvia A. Price & Patricia Hickey

Junior Achievement (JA) an organization dedicated to educating young people to learn about money, careers and starting businesses.  JA USA is the nation’s largest organization dedicated to educating students in K-12 about entrepreneurship, work readiness, and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs to help young people understand the economics of life. Volunteers representing the Manatee  County Branch,  American Association of University Women (AAUW), Manatee County Branch, the Anna Maria Island Kiwanis Club, Junior Achievement Organization and the community participated in this program for second, third and fifth graders at Anna Maria Elementary.

We transferred to a JA day format this year, where we went to the school for a half-day and volunteers present all five lessons in one sitting.  This works better for volunteers because they are able to set aside one day to come in and serve the students, and teachers are able to free up one morning to bring financial literacy information into their classroom.


Priscilla Sewald taught Mrs. Newhall’s second graders How a Community Works. Since this was her initial experience teaching Junior Achievement, she was apprehensive but stated “What a delightful experience it was.”   They discussed businesses and jobs, distinguishing unit versus assembly line production and the decision making process and how money flows through a community.   The concepts of individually (unit production) and in groups (assembly line production) were used to produce donuts.

A few days later, Priscilla received a packet of thank you notes tied with a green ribbon.  They thanked her for teaching them about jobs in the community, money and especially that everyone pays taxes.  One of the students stated, “The day was fun. I learned so much and the donuts were so great, I would have paid $50 for it.”  All had a good day!

Taylor Vogelsang worked with Karen Newhall’s 2nd grade classroom where they covered looking at the variety of careers that people have in a community, practice producing goods and services by making donuts. Students also practiced paying taxes to pay for government services such as roads and schools. They also practiced decision making and voting by holding a mock election in the classroom to decide what their school needs, and learned how money moves from the US mint and throughout our community.

OUR CITY        

Adam Ksiazek’s goal was to present a meaningful and educational program on “Our City” to Mrs. Ensworth ‘s third grade class. The level of participation was outstanding as the discussion focused on planning, zoning, residential, business, industrial, farming and mixed).  Money was emphasized since banks, saving accounts, checking accounts, credit cards; debit cards and currency are involved.  Next, a restaurant was selected to start a business since an entrepreneur, staff; type of food and location was needed.
Since a city provides services  (police, fireman, water, schools and more) is one of the reasons for property taxes.   Each student had a $250 bank account and the game, similar to monopoly, they played focused on receiving or paying money. Then, each student disclosed how much money they had in the bank and the differences were discussed.

The program was presented in a workshop format, three hours rather than five one-hour sessions.  The disadvantage is that they were unable to take home materials and review them with their parents or siblings.

Patricia Hickey worked with Dr. Laura Redeker’s third grade classroom and stated, ‘that in a three hour workshop format, we built a city!”  Students learned to identify the different zones used in city planning and apply the information to organize businesses.  Also, they decided where homes, condos, businesses, schools and churches, farms and an airport should be placed.   Additionally, students focused on the interdependence of consumers, producers and entrepreneurs. The concepts of communication via newspaper, television, radio, and digital communications were also emphasized.


Sylvia Price enjoyed working with Mrs. Mary Miller, as she was an integral part of the fifth-grade class during the session.  Sylvia discussed the concept of free enterprise that permits individuals to make choices in their economic roles and entrepreneurship–imagination, innovative thinking, and management skills that are needed to start and operate a business.

The important concepts discussed were the importance and differences between human (people who do work that a business needs), capital (buildings, tools, machines and money} and natural resources (air, water, minerals, trees, graphite, clay). The need for workers with skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM SKILLS) was also stressed.  The students using these concepts incorporated their ideas into forming new businesses.

They examined and analyzed the skills needed for jobs, and the ones they would be most interested in acquiring.  The importance of interviewing skills, writing a resume and career opportunities were discussed. Lastly, they explored how our nation is connected to the global economy competing for business or workers around the world.  The students played a fascinating game  “Mystery Puzzle Cards” where they walk around the room in search of others who have a puzzle card that matches their own piece of the product.  Once they discover their product, they discussed the resources needed to produce that product. Since global trade specialization lowers the cost of making products it will reduce prices enabling consumers to benefit from more choices and lower prices.

We appreciate the volunteers who contributed to the success of this program and to Taylor Vogelsang, Education Coordinator, Sarasota/Manatee/Pinellas JA, for her guidance and support.

2015-2016 JA (of Abilene) Educator of the Year – Leslye Roberts

Original Story from Junior Achievement of Abilene

We all have educators who inspired and prepared us to become better people than we were before meeting them. For some, it’s a coach, others a music instructor, and classroom instructors affect us all. Sometimes, however, the counselors and administrators don’t get recognized due to the nature of a job that isn’t on the front lines of education. In the case of selecting the JA Educator of the Year, it was easy to see the impact of the Instruction Coordinator at Abilene ISD‘s Lee Elementary School.

Leslye Roberts is not in the classroom each day anymore now that she is no longer a teacher, but now affects a larger number of students in her role as the campus’ Instruction Coordinator. Leslye also served as the campus’ JA Coordinator. Leslye took it upon herself to study the correlations between the JA programs and state standards for each grade level (K through 5th), compare this to the time on the calendar scheduled to teach their financial literacy curriculum, and chose to place the JA in a Day at Lee Elementary School square in the middle of the Spring semester to raise the students’ awareness and ability to comprehend financial literacy components.

The relationship between JA and Lee Elementary School began a year ago when JA of Abilene received a $13,000 grant from the Dian Graves Owen Foundation to increase JA programs in AISD’s lower income elementary schools. After a thorough selection process, Lee was chosen to be the most recent school added to the JA program mix.

Leslye scheduled an in-person training for each teacher by JA staff, allowed JA staff to present at an in-service meeting, helped JA personnel each step of the way, encouraged students and teachers to anticipate the JA experience, and collected same-day thank you cards from each student for their volunteer to receive. Leslye went above and beyond to make Junior Achievement as effective as possible. Leslye chose to inspire and prepare the students at Lee Elementary School to be successful young people

Thank you for everything Leslye Roberts!


After School Club Inspires Financial Awareness for Campus Youth

Board Member Valerie Muka of Evans Bank brings Junior Achievement program to Lynde School

As a commercial loan officer at Evans Bank, Valerie Muka understands the significance of strong financial awareness at any age. As a member of our board of directors, she recognizes the importance of engaging youth who struggle through the ins and outs of financial stability. And as a mom of two, she has a heart for equipping future generations of our community  by volunteering her time.

Led by Valerie, Evans Bank kicked-off an after-school program for youth residing on our Main Street Campus. The four week initiative was in collaboration with Junior Achievement of Western New York.

“I learned as much from the kids as I hope they learned from me,” said Valerie. “We talked through aspects of personal finance, but the group really excelled. They had to create a business, come up with budgets for advertising and meeting payroll, and look to make a profit at the end of the day. It was amazing how creative this team could be!”

Upon completion of the program, Evans Bank hosted youth for a tour of their Clarence Branch. They also presented each participant with  a certificate of achievement and provided a celebratory dinner.

Thank you Valerie Muka and Evans Bank for making a difference by providing students with financial education.

Original Story from Gateway-Longview, Inc.

An Unforgettable Experience

Original Story from Junior Achievement – Rocky Mountain, Inc.

The following testimonial/ letter is from Duncan Mazza, a JA Business Week student.

Attending JA Business Week for the first time, I was hoping to get a taste of the business world; something to give me an understanding of business and whether it’s something I want to pursue.

What I ended up getting out of the week was that – and so much more.  Going from a messy brainstormed list of bullet-point ideas to a refined product, project proposal, and presentation was an insightful experience both for product development and working professionally with other people.

At the beginning of JA Business Week, I didn’t know a single person, but I always felt welcomed and included. At the end of the week, I didn’t think of my company as a company but as a close team.  The combination of collaboration, problem solving, team building activities, working through adversity, etc. resulted in a very rewarding experience that I will cherish for years to come.

While working with my company on our phone case was the meat and potatoes of the week, there were plenty of other activities that provided the perfect mix of entertainment and business education.  For example, the etiquette dinner not only had great food but gave me a taste of an important skill in the business world.  My favorite activity was the Entrepreneurial Mentoring Lunch – meeting several entrepreneurs and having conversations with them was an inspiring experience.

The most important thing that I’ll take away from JA Business Week was my leadership experience and the feedback I received from my awesome company adviser.  After each company meeting, my adviser would give me feedback on how I was doing leading the group, as well as advice for what to do next.  I learned a lot from her, which was the cherry on top of my already amazing experience!


You may need to remind yourself: These are high school students on summer vacation

Original story from Junior Achievement Rocky Mountain

The following story is a testimony from Charles Bogenberger, a Supplier Marketing Manager for Arrow Electronics and a JA Business Week Company Advisor

A volunteer exclaimed, “Speaking with these students today has completely changed my outlook on the next generation.”  This comment followed the JA Business Week Entrepreneurship lunch where more than 20 entrepreneurs sat at tables full of business week students and shared their experience and provided mentoring to young people hoping to run their own businesses someday.

The maturity of the students at JA Business Week is impressive, and it’s easy to forget that most are still 15, 16 or 17 years old; they come ready to collaborate and do their best work.  The students display leadership, and a work ethic that I certainly did not possess when I was a student.

To give students an opportunity to hone their leadership skills, each company appointed a CEO.  At the beginning of the week, Company Advisors like me were given instructions for how to choose a CEO.  Some teams chose to have elections, other teams opted to nominate specific individuals, and some CEOs were chosen directly by the Company Advisor.  In my company, there was an obvious leader after the first two meetings.  She did a great job of listening, respecting her team and communicating with each group member.  When it came time for the students to choose a leader, I simply asked the team, “Do you feel as though there is one individual who stands out as an obvious leader?”  Their response, “No. Is there someone that you think stands out?”  I said, “I’ll give you a hint, we are all looking at her now, even though I’m the one talking”.  I was pointing out that even though students had scattered themselves around the room, everyone’s focus was on one person who was clearly the leader.  The team chose her as the CEO without even a vote.

As a CEO she displayed maturity that I haven’t seen in senior-level executives.  One of the perks of being the CEO was that she had the privilege of cutting in line for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  She never felt right about that, however, and she opted to wait with her team. How many times have you flown with a boss who opted to board the plane earlier than you because they had medallion status that you did not?  It caught my attention, and is a trait I hope to embody as a team leader.

The maturity of the students was not limited to the CEO, and the rest of the team demonstrated dedication and a strong work ethic consistently throughout the week.  Of course, there were moments when the students lost focus and sent Snapchats to their friends or played and shared music rather than working on their project. During these moments I had to remind myself that they were high school students.  It’s rather amazing that this kind of behavior didn’t dominate the week, and that’s why JA Business Week students are unique.They are engaged, motivated and driven to succeed.

I appreciated how hard my company worked to create an Otterbox proposal that they could be proud of, and I’m lucky to have had the chance to watch and guide them as their advisor. When you see how hard the students work and how much fun they have, it’s really easy to forget that these are high school students on summer vacation.



Temple Elementary Students Honor JA Volunteer

Story from: Junior Achievement of Western New York

 Jane Fosberg dedicates her life to the children of Falconer Central School District. A former teacher, principal, and superintendent, now retired, she continues to give back by teaching JA classes to first grade students at Temple Elementary School. She also established a fund at the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to provide continuing aid to teachers for student enrichment.

“Jane may have retired but she is embedded in the Falconer community and school district,” said Temple principal, Holly Hannon. “She cares deeply and wants us to succeed.”

 Students in Lorraine Adams’ class eagerly look forward to Jane’s weekly JA visits. It is clear she has a special rapport with them. One of the important aspects of JA for first graders, according to Lorraine, is teaching students “…the difference between wants and needs and how money is used to buy needs (food, shelter, clothing) before wants.”  They also discuss professions/jobs helpful to the community. Preparing even the youngest children for the future, empowers them and increases their self-confidence.

In order to recognize Jane’s contributions and to further students’ understanding of giving back, Lorraine devised a point system based upon good behavior. Students work individually and in groups to earn points; the more they earn independently, the faster the entire class gets to 1,000 points. Each point is worth one penny and 1,000 pennies equals $10. Lorraine then donates the money and places it into a jar.

Over a two-year period, classes earned the equivalent of $60. The children decided to give the money to charity as part of learning to give back to the community and chose The Jane Fosberg Fund, which offers assistance to Falconer teachers developing special educational projects designed to enhance experiential learning. The students’ generosity is a testament of their love for Jane and of her love for the children of Falconer schools.



Gavin and Russell Kozora love Junior Achievement.

Original Story from: Junior Achievement of Western Pennsylvania

Russell works at HarbisonWalker International in Moon Township, PA and is on the company’s JA-Bowl-A-Thon committee. His son Gavin attends school in the Shaler School district. Shaler School district benefits from JA programming.

This is Russell’s story:

This past May, Gavin missed his JA day at school. He didn’t know it was JA Day until he returned from his absence the following week. Boy was he bummed. Gavin told me he missed his JA Day and he was really upset because someone took his materials from the class he missed, too! I could tell he was upset and disappointed.  I told him maybe I could teach it next year, and help to ensure he doesn’t miss JA day again.

We have a change jar in our house where we collect change and each time it’s full we put the cash into accounts for our boys. This time though I asked Gavin what he wanted to do with his money.  He said, “Give it to JA!” He knew I was on the committee and was involved with JA at work. I was very impressed that he wanted to do that.  I took the time to tell him that if he wanted to give it to JA, daddy had been working to solicit donations for raffles to raise money and I could put his money into the raffles for gifts.  I read him the Raffle prizes and told him he could pick 5 prizes. The one he wanted to win most was a wing party donated by Buffalo Wild Wings.

At the Bowl-A-Thon we shattered company records.  Our goal was 100 people bowling and to raise $12,000 which was 100% growth doubling our previous year’s effort. We had 110 bowlers, 25 lanes, and 24 teams, raising over $22,590.  We have positively impacted 645 children in our area, and are currently the #1 Bowl-A-Thon in Western PA.

Toward the end of the event, the raffle prizes were being drawn. When they pulled my name for the Wing party, I knew my son was going to be excited.  I texted my wife immediately to inform my son.  When I got home he was running laps around the house with his excitement. It was so great to see my son make the decision on his own to help Junior Achievement. He has inspired me to want to do more. I’m hoping our company can become a sponsor of a school district and I can start to help by being a JA volunteer.