Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio Reflections & Stories 

       JA USA National Press Release Announcing JA Company of the Year - USA is Simple Starters from JA of East Central Ohio

Thank you to The Burton D. Morgan Foundation for sponsoring travel expenses to get JA Companies Bats Around Town and Simple Starters to Washington D.C. for the National Student Leadership Conference. Learn more about how The Burton D. Morgan Foundation supports local youth entreprenurship here in their newest Intersections publication

Student Zachary Gotter, North Canton Hoover High School

Junior Achievement has taught me many things and brought me many amazing experiences but the competition in Washington D.C. was by far the best. I learned so many new things and experienced many new experiences. My number one takeaway from the whole week was improving communication skills. Pitching the idea countless times to either Judges, the many people who attended the Expo, and even students from the other companies who were interested in our company. The best experience I had was talking with kids from around the country not only about their products but getting to know them and their interests. Even though this is not business related my favorite part of the trip was.. well of course it was becoming national champions but that's a no brainer. But my other favorite part was just being in Washington D.C.. I'm a huge nerd when it come to American History so every chance to walk around D.C. I took it and tried to see as much as possible. I want to thank Junior Achievement for everything it has taught me and for giving me such an amazing opportunity to learn even more in Washington D.C.. I also want to thank our teacher and mentor, Mike Grady and Joe Rozsa for helping us every step of the way and I am thankful for all the time they devoted to make sure they succeed. 

I also want to thank all of my company team members, they worked extremely hard throughout the school year to make sure we were successful it was truly a team effort. Throughout this process I made friendships that I wish to last a life time and even if we didn't win, that was the most important accomplishment of the year to me.


Zachary Gotter (middle) and JA Company Simple Starters
team member presenting their product at the trade show expo
in the Dirksen Senate Office Building at Capital Hill.


Student Alexandar Grimm, GlenOak High School 

While the JA summit was an amazing learning experience for most people. I saw it as the endpoint of this adventure. I had reached the end of a journey that many others could not reach. At this summit, I got to see all the adventures others had gone through to get here and took note of a little lesson they learned. Much was learned from sharing experiences with others and instead of seeing the scope of the program, I saw its depth. 

Alexandar Grimm presenting with his JA Company Bats
Around Town from the stage at The Phillips Collection.


JA Business Mentor & JA Alumni Justin Lepley, Case Western Reserve School of Law 

My name is Justin Lepley, and I am a graduate of Marlington Highschool, the University of Mount Union, and I am currently entering my final year of Law School at Case Western Reserve, in Cleveland. I am with you all today, to share some experiences from the recent Student Leadership Summit in Washington D.C., for which the board was gracious enough to enable me to attend; but I would like to start more generally by thanking everyone present for fostering the organization that is Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio. It is under that leadership that my connection with JA began back at Marlington High school. It is through that connection that Junior Achievement has profoundly affected my life for the better; first as a student and participant in the company program, then as an active alumnus, lucky enough to stay in touch with the program over the past few years at Hoover, and now most recently as a formal volunteer and chaperone for the GlenOak team. I could go on and on about how each step in that process has profoundly affected me, from giving me a sense of belonging and connection to the high school experience that I otherwise wouldn't have had, to helping me uncover my passion for entrepreneurship, and guiding my focus in my undergraduate education. But by far, the most significant impact that JA has had on me is in the stage that I currently am. Getting the opportunity to share in the creativity, energy, and hopefulness of the next generation has been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life.

During the Student Leadership Summit, I saw our two teams come together to represent our region in the most spectacular way. Of course, there was a tremendous display of entrepreneurial and business skills that our teams utilized throughout the entire year, landing them among the top fifteen teams in the nation, but those skills are not they will be remembered for. Instead, our students stood out for their graciousness, comradery, and overwhelming support of each other and the other contestants. In my opinion, that is what is so beautiful about the Company Program; it calls on students to utilize the hard skills that they have learned in the classroom, but in order to really succeed, it pushes them beyond that, to come together as a group and work through the challenges with levels of emotional intelligence that few other high school or college endeavors require. It was the culmination of a year-long immersion in those experiences, trials, and struggles that our students displayed in D.C. last week.

In life it can be tempting to see getting involved and giving back as something to be done once you've "made it" but that takes for granted the fact that life isn't a destination it's a journey and no matter what stage of that journey you are at, everyone has something to offer others. You all, the JA board, Dawn, Alyssa, the educators and especially the students have given my life so much joy in these past months, and I cannot wait to see what we can all do together in the months and years to come, as our local JA chapter joins with JA of North Central Ohio.


Justin Lepley with his former JA Company Educator
Mike Grady at the 2019 National Student Leadership Summit.


President Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio, Dawn Campanelli 

Youth entrepreneurship education thrives at the high school level because the JA Company Program connects students pursuing business, finance and marketing careers with a real world-of-work experience to understand the risks and rewards of running a company with help from business mentors to inspire them to turn ‘first attempts in learning' into improved business performance. We are most grateful for everyone who supported Junior Achievement locally to enhance the business acumen of 80 students in 10 startup businesses at North Canton, GlenOak, Lake, and Marlington high schools this past school year.


Student Ian Gill, GlenOak High School 

The junior achievement national summit  was a tremendous learning experience for me. The most memorable experience was meeting all of the other amazing and talented teams from all over America. It opened my horizons to be able to compete against, and ultimately become friends with, so many people from different backgrounds.


Ian Gill speaking about his National experience
at the JAUSA Board of Directors Breakfast.


JA Youth Entreprenurship Programming Supported by 



Two JAECO Student Company Teams Selected to National Competition

Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio was proud to be represented by two JA student companies at the 2019 National Student Leadership Summit to be held June 17 - June 20, in Washington, DC. 

Bats Around Town from GlenOak High School and Simple Starters from North Canton Hoover High School were selected among 15 finalists out of nearly 50 submissions from across the United States.

During this pinnacle three-day event of high impact JA experiences students demonstrated their business acumen, creativity and entrepreneurial thinking in a competitive environment— showcasing their JA companies to Members of Congress and business leaders.


Congratulations to GlenOak Business Educator Amanda Defays and JA Business Volunteers Justin Lepley, JA Alumni, Joe Schindel and Bryce Mathie of AXA Advisors. Students representing BATS at the national competition are Brody Parsons, Ian Gill, Alex Grimm, Jared Poirrier, and Justin Klotz. Additional team member was Zipporah Moore. Bats Around Town is a non-profit organization that strives to promote awareness about the importance of the bat population to our environment and built and sold hand-crafted bat houses. BATs donated $650 for the Akron's Zoo's Bat Education Program.

Learn more about Bats Around Town by veiwing their commercial here and annual report on the right. 




Congratulations to North Canton Hoover Business Educator Mike Grady and JA Business Volunteer Joe Rozsa, owner of Site 14. Students representing Simple Starters at the national  competition are Nichoas Friedl, Trevor Most, Alexandra Bercaw, Zachary Gotter, Nicholas DeMatteis. Additional team members were Andrew Wells, Jamason Petree, Josh Salinas and Payton Lambes. Simple Starters is a company that creates cards that initiate conversation and meaningful dialogue between families and others that can be used to build relationships. In just 7 months they generated over $13,500 in sales and donated $3,800 of those sales to Perry High School and Dymonte Thomas Community.

Learn more about Simple Starters by veiwing their commercial here and annual report on the right.



2019 National Junior Achievement Company of The Year 

For the second year in a row Junior Achievement of East Central Ohio has recived the JA Company of the Year title! Simple Starters of North Canton Hoover High School was named the first-place student company, each of the five students representing the JA Company at the national conference were awarded a $2,500 scholarship by the Achievement Foundation. In addition to being national champions, Simple Starters won the ICE NYSE Foundation Best Financial Performance Award. The award was presented to the Junior Achievement student company that performed the best against criteria including profitability, investor expectations, employee earnings, product quality, leadership, and operational efficiency.