A Project for Better Journalism chapter
Opinion, Showcase, Student Life

Junior Achievement: One student’s journey

The Junior Achievement program’s goal is to inspire and prepare students to succeed in a global economy. They are a worldwide non-profit organization that is dedicated to educating students and helping them achieve their goals. I am one of thousands of students that has been impacted by Junior Achievement. 

I have been involved with the program for as long as I can remember. When I was growing up, my dad was always an active member of the organization. So much so that he actually was the president of the local branch. 

My first memory was being asked to throw candy in Shawano’s Santa Parade. My dad was driving the car, and they needed more people to help. 

When I got older I was asked to help at the Taste of Shawano, which is organized by Junior Achievement. I sold raffle tickets and helped with the tear down of the event. 

My most memorable memory was when I attended Junior Achievement’s Be An Entrepreneur Camp. I had never been to a summer camp before, and was so excited to attend. However, the camp was not a traditional summer camp. 

We were split into groups of 4 or 5 people. We were supposed to create a product and campaign for it. Then at the end of the week we presented our product to real business people from the community. 

Even though in the morning we had to work on our product development, the afternoons were ours to enjoy. I had so much fun that I went back for a second summer. I made some of my closest friends and learned that I could make anything happen.

The group from my first summer at camp.

After I entered high school, I was able to start volunteering to teach a Junior Achievement class. I chose Kindergarten, and have taught for the same teacher three years in a row. 

My sophomore year I participated in Junior Achievement’s Business Challenge. I got to play a simulation game with two of my friends and compete for a scholarship. We were the CEOs of a company and had to try and make our business the best.

My group and I enjoyed ourselves so much the first year that we went back the next year. We did not win either time, but we got something much better. We got the knowledge and experience of being business owners. 

My group and I at the JA Business Challenge in 2020. Photo courtesy of Mrs. Kathryn Beres.

This past spring I applied for a scholarship through Junior Achievement. I ended up receiving one of their scholarships. I have never been more grateful to an organization before. 

I was reached out to last week about speaking at the Junior Achievement State Conference for Wisconsin. I was asked to make a video explaining what Junior Achievement means to me. 

It was so easy for me to make a video because Junior Achievement means the world to me. They provided me with experiences that I would not have otherwise. I was introduced to one of my best friends and countless others. 

My video was broadcasted at the conference on Wednesday, September 30. I am so humbled to be able to share my Junior Achievement experience and how much it all meant to me.

I hope that the organization is able to continue impacting students just like me for many years to come.