Not even a pandemic can stand in the way of this team of volunteers who inspire students at East Peoria Community High School (EPCHS)! “I have been incredibly fortunate throughout my career to work with some amazing volunteers through JA,” said EPCHS educator Zach Fleming. “This year, 2020, is no different in that regard, but so different in so many other ways, as we all know. Dean Heffta, Charlie Drier, Ryan Moore, and Terry Quinn all bring something unique to the class and are amazing in their own ways.” The four volunteers leverage personal experience to inspire and prepare students through the programs JA Titan® and JA Economics®, which are part of their economics high school class content during the school day.
Ranging from first-time volunteers in 2020, to seasoned classroom veterans, each was faced with new challenges and opportunities when invited to return as a virtual mentor this fall. JA’s blended technology activities are easily adapted to the unpredictable learning environment we’ve experienced as of late – but volunteers’ personal stories of professional experience shared with young people are what provide the most unique aspect of these educational experiences. “Their work makes comprehension and understanding, and most importantly, the application perceivable,” said Zach. “These guys' preparation, dedication, attention to making these concepts applicable to a teenager, and pure passion for what they do is second to none.”