Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass saluted its volunteers and thanked teachers and other supporters at the annual Adopt-A-School & Community Partners Breakfast Reception, held April 12 in the JA BizTown mall off Georgetown Road.
JA, which educates young people about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship, and basic financial matters, selected Elizabeth Davis of Yates Elementary as its Teacher of the Year. She was nominated by volunteer Kim Gentry.
“I have taught several JA classes at multiple schools, and Mrs. Davis has been the most refreshing teacher I have ever worked with,” Gentry wrote. “She participates and is active in each lesson and brings personal experiences into the lesson. And her communication with me has been second to none.”
At Yates, most of the children in kindergarten through second grade participate in JA. This year, Davis’ students have discussed needs and wants, budgets and decision making, taxes, and how they can contribute to their community.
“The sooner you can instill financial literacy in a child, the more positively you can affect their future,” said Davis, who teaches second grade. “As we adults know, a financial decision you make now can impact your life for many years to come. Students need to learn healthy attitudes about money and how their economy works so that they can make the best decisions for their futures.”
In addition, Tommy Roberts, a certified financial planner at Central Bank, was honored as JA Volunteer of the Year for Fayette County. Roberts leads the Personal Success lessons at Henry Clay High School, where he has volunteered in Jody Cabble’s class for about 10 years. “I enjoy teaching the students about real-world issues and how to solve them,” he said. Roberts also donates time at Ashland Elementary, where his children attend. “My goal is to give a little knowledge and experience to as many students as possible so they can have the confidence in their own futures,” he said.
Roberts was nominated by Cabble and social studies teacher Steven Riley, who welcomed him into his Advanced Citizenship class at Henry Clay. “He was punctual, organized, prepared, and honest with the students about what they are going to be asked to do in the ‘real world,” Riley said. “Some of the students in my class come from very challenging backgrounds, but Mr. Roberts was able to listen to their perspectives and help them apply what they were learning in JA to their lives.”
JA also recognized John Hibbard, who serves in Franklin County schools, as Volunteer of the Year in outlying counties, as well as its 2016-17 community partners.
This year, more than 440 volunteers have led classroom lessons in three dozen counties. In JA’s Adopt-A-School program, companies provide student materials and volunteer training for a particular school. Additional partners back the financial literacy programs and JA curriculum.
Speaking at the breakfast, FCPS Superintendent Manny Caulk suggested the greatest challenge to providing a world-class school system here is equity – ensuring that all youths get what they deserve and what they need for access to the best education possible. “For many students, education is the pathway to a better life. The opposite of poverty is career readiness and financial literacy,” Caulk said to the JA crowd, noting, “You’re giving them hope.”
To get involved with Junior Achievement of the Bluegrass, contact officer manager Erin Warren at (859) 219-2423.