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National Student Leadership Summit 2019

In June of 2019, 15 of Junior Achievement’s top student companies came to the Nation’s Capital to compete in the 2019 Junior Achievement National Student Summit.

Junior Achievement’s National Student Leadership Summit (NSLS) is a contest of business skills, ingenuity, and innovation that focuses on the accomplishments of JA Company Program ® students in the United States between the ages 15-19 during the 2018-2019 academic year. Currently reaching more than 10,000 U.S. students who created over 500 start-up ventures, JA Company Program students start and run a real business enterprise under the guidance of a volunteer from the local business community. They devise and market a product or service that fills an unmet consumer need and recruit investors for their company.

Inside NSLS 2019

In June, JA student companies competed in the 2019 National Student Leadership Summit in Washington, D.C. for various sponsored awards.  The student companies were assessed on their financial performance, individual team members’ personal and professional development, a self-produced commercials about their product or service, their team’s live presentation to a panel of business leaders, and on their company’s performance at an Entrepreneurship Expo on Capitol Hill, which was attended by Members of Congress and Congressional Staff.

“Junior Achievement’s student events are of great importance to our organization. These events provide unique opportunities for our students to put into practice the concepts they have] learned from the JA Company Program, such as collaboration, creativity, critical thinking, communication, and sound business practices,” said Jack E. Kosakowski, President & CEO of Junior Achievement USA. “The professionalism and passion for entrepreneurship I’ve witnessed during this summit reassures me that our future is in good hands. These young people are a testament to the impact of Junior Achievement.”

After thorough evaluation and judge scoring, the following JA student companies received awards and recognition at NSLS 2019:

JA Company of the Year

Awarded to the student businesses that most effectively demonstrated their companies’ achievements, as well as the personal development of each team member.









JA Company of the Year Winners – Simple Starters

Click here to see their performance during the Company Presentations!

Click here to learn about their JA student company! 









Second Place Winners – Pure Serenity

Click here to see their performance during the Company Presentations!

Click here to learn about their JA student company! 









Third Place Winners – Denim2Denim

Click here to see their performance during the Company Presentations!

Click here to learn about their JA student company! 

Delta Social Impact Award

Awarded to the student team that created a solution to address a local, national, or global social concern by connecting customers, stakeholders and community; demonstrating great customer service; advancing education in their company, and creating value through innovation in all aspects of their business.









Click here to see their performance during the Company Presentations!

Click here to learn about their JA student company! 

EY Innovation Award

Awarded to the student team that effectively demonstrated how their product, service, strategy, or process is an innovative solution to an existing problem. The award recipient proved to entail aspects of creativity, impact, scalability, and lessons learned throughout their business endeavor.  









Click here to see their performance during the Company Presentations!

Click here to learn about their JA student company! 

ICE NYSE Foundation Best Financial Performance Award

Awarded to the student team that demonstrated the best financial results, including profitability, investor expectations, employee earnings, product quality, leadership, and operational efficiency.









Click here to see their performance during the Company Presentations!

Click here to learn about their JA student company! 

Jim Sweeny Pioneer Scholarship Award

Awarded to an individual of JA Company for accomplishments in a role within a JA Company and entrepreneurial potential. 










Congratulations to All JA Student Companies that Participated in this Year’s Summit:

 Denim2Denim – JA of Southeastern Pennsylvania

 Pure Serenity – JA of South Florida

Bats Around Town – JA of East Central Ohio

Brush It Off – JA of Western Massachusetts

EcoSlurp – JA of the Upper Midwest

Filtair USA – JA of Northern New England

Hydrope  –  JA of Northern California

MO Co. – JA of Greater St. Louis

Our Story – JA of the Chisholm Trail

Reclaimed Visions – JA of Chicago

Simple Starters  –  JA of East Central Ohio

Sipsy – JA of Greater Washington

Tudrme – JA of Southern California

VIBEzzz – JA of South Florida

WriteCase – JA of the Upper Midwest


Behind the Scenes of NSLS 2019

Throughout the entire three-day event, our two JA Student Ambassadors, Sam Blum and Eric Lin, worked to capture all the fun and excitement at this year’s NSLS. We thank them for their hard work and dedication to Junior Achievement.

Here is an inside look at what NSLS is really like:


Teens & Personal Finance Survey Insights

A new survey by Junior Achievement (JA) and Citizens Bank shows that 63 percent of teens believe they will be financially independent of their parents by the age of 30, meaning that more than a third of teens surveyed do not hold this belief. The survey is being released in conjunction with Financial Literacy Month, which is April.

The survey found that 74 percent believe they will own a car by the time they are 30, with 60 percent believing they will own a home, 44 percent believing they will begin saving for retirement and 43 percent believing they will have paid off student loans. The survey of 1,000 US teens ages 13-18, who are not currently enrolled in college was conducted by Wakefield Research.

The survey also found that most teens’ top financial goal for the future is getting a full-time job (62%). Other financial goals included graduating from a 4-year college (59%), no longer having to rely on parents or caregivers for money (53%) and saving enough money for a big trip or vacation (41%). In terms of teen top financial concerns for the future, those included paying for college (47%), not being able to afford to live on their own (45%), paying taxes (43%) and finding a fulfilling, well-paying job (40%).

Other findings include:

  • Most teens (64%) turn to their parents or caregivers for financial advice, followed by family members (38%), friends (30%) and online resources, such as articles and social media (27%)
  • Most teens making money have some sort of bank account (61%), while the rest save their money unbanked, such as in a shoebox, piggybank or other method.
  • Among those currently in school, more female respondents (40%) than males (34%) believed they would make less than $35,000 in their first full-time job after high school.
  • More teens (22%) earned money in 2019 by working independently, compared to 2018 (16%). Most teens depend on gifts for spending money (64%), while many receive allowances for doing chores (32%). 



The JA Teens & Personal Finance Survey was conducted by Wakefield Research (www.wakefieldresearch.com) among 1,000 nationally representative U.S. teens ages 13-18, who are not currently enrolled in college between, March 1st and March 8th, 2019, using an email invitation and an online survey.

Middle Schoolers Milestones for Success

From the 6th grade to 8th grade, students are doing more than just preparing for high school; they are in the awkward stage of responsibility.  Between the ages of 11-13, these students don’t have anything immediate on their radar making saving and budgeting even more challenging. This just means it’s the perfect time for parents and educators to motivate them to think ahead.

Strong Foundation

If you didn’t work on financial milestones in elementary school, it’s time to get serious about your student understanding concepts such as:

  • Saving
  • Spending
  • Budgeting
  • Banking
  • Currency
  • Types of money
  • General taxes
  • Wants versus needs
  • Opportunity costs

These concepts will be necessary to introduce them to what financial experiences they will need in just a few years.

Upcoming Finances

It may be three to five years before a middle schooler can realistically look at getting a car, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t thinking about that day now. In essence, they are needing to understand “delayed gratification.” Individuals that learn how to prolong their needs tend to thrive more in their careers, relationships, health, and finances! Challenging your child or student with financial self-control will enable them to look ahead to see the value of having a car. It will determine if they will take out a loan for a car and add interest to the cost of their vehicle, or if they will be able to purchase a car with almost all cash down. Getting the conversation started and motivating your student along the way is step one in assisting them for the future. Next, if you haven’t done so already, you will need to enable them to succeed by helping them set up a bank account. Once that is taken care of, keep up the motivation. Discuss how exciting the moment will be when he or she receives their driver’s license and can have the freedom to go where they need to go on their own.  To ensure you’re discussing the financial goals they will soon experience, here is a list of topics to cover:

  • Car purchase
    • Affording gas
    • Car insurance
    • Car maintenance
    • Saving money to pay for the experience or product once you arrive at the destination
  • After-school job or summer jobs
  • Career exploration
  • College or trade school expenses


Storytelling to Connect

Using your personal experiences in these areas is a crucial piece in what makes Junior Achievement (JA) so effective. Our volunteers engage students by sharing their professional stories with students in order to get them to understand how it applies to them. The best part is parents can integrate this technique with their child, and teachers can incorporate it in their classroom. For an inside look, this is what a teacher had to say about this real-world connection concept: “Finding real-world connections to student projects is largely a matter of perception. To an adult, the “real world” is work and economics. To a kid, the “real world” is the playground when the supervisor is looking the other way.”

Innately, the middle-schoolers in your life will be drawn to these topics because they will apply to them; they will sense that something is at stake. The role you play is by connecting with them in a way that brings in the reality of their upcoming financial milestones with the importance of what they can do now to prepare.

Reaching Milestones

While their milestones may be happening in the next 3 to 8 years, it’s essential that you; as a mentor, parent, teacher, or role-model; continue to encourage and motivate the child looking up to you. As they achieve small goals while striving toward a big milestone, be sure to talk with them about what they did and how they are one step closer to reaching their primary objective. Even as adults, it takes a lot to continue your motivation to a goal that seems so far away. But with a little (or a lot) of help by those who we care and trust, it becomes more manageable.

To assist the middle-schooler in your life, check out JA Economics for Success®, where students learn about choosing the right career and managing money properly.


Elementary Milestones for Future Success

From Kindergarten to fifth-grade, most children do not have a clear understanding of finances or money in general. What they learn at this stage in life are concepts that will continue to build as they grow older. While at this stage in their lives, they don’t have bills or loans to worry about, it puts their financial future on the horizon and gives them something to think about as they get older.

To put your child ahead of the curve, there are countless ways to introduce every-day transactions and learning-moments! Here are the primary milestones that elementary students are struggling with and ways that you can get your child more confident with outside of the classroom:

Grocery Store

While at the grocery store or any place of business, there are tons of opportunities to show your child the thought process and money concepts you use to make your decisions. Be sure to take a few seconds when you’re deciding between two items to discuss what you are using to determine which product or service is better than the other and why you are choosing a particular one. As you go down an aisle that contains products that are not a necessity but are something you want, discuss the difference between needs and wants. Include how by picking a want you may be sacrificing another product that was also want (or even a need) on your list, explain that this concept is called opportunity cost.

Once your shopping trip has been brought to the register, note that while you know everything has a cost, your child might not. Explain to him or her that all of the products you picked up at the store have a cost as well as taxes that are added to them. The taxes that are included are called sales tax, which states and local governments impose that help pay for schools, roads, police and fire departments. While the concept of taxes goes far deeper than this, it will begin to create the foundation for further growth and understanding in the future. This is also a perfect time to explain to your child what method of payment you are choosing and why. This will get him or her more familiar with money options available in the economy.



Before exposing your child to the concepts or mortgage companies, credit unions, and investment banks, start with the primary institution where money is held, your local bank or even internet banking app. This is the heart of financial literacy as children learn how savings, currency, deposits, and types of money typically start their journey here.

Tell your child what you want to accomplish while you are at the bank and what you will have to do in order to accomplish this goal. When depositing a check, tell your child about the deposit form you fill out and what it will do when it is processed through the system.This is also a great time to set your child up with a savings account; this will teach him or her that it is never too early to start and that by beginning early, they are preparing for their future.



Finally, after the trip to the bank and the grocery store, you’re home. The place where families come together to discuss their day, what they did, learned, and what they are excited for in the future. This is the perfect place for conversations of budgeting/money management and charitable giving goals!

A survey conducted by the American Psychology Association found that 95% of those surveyed believe parents should talk to their children about money, yet only 64% said they were taught to manage money correctly, and 37% responded that they speak with their family members on the subject of money. There lies an area of opportunity for you and your family to come together.

Budgeting is one of the most important pieces when it comes to financial success. Creating a budget, managing the budget, and sticking with the budget. Bring your children into the conversation when you are creating the family budget. If you don’t create one, now would be a great time to start! Include all of the living expenses like home/mortgage, utilities, car costs, insurance, etc. From there examine what is being spent on the non-urgent resources included in your family’s every-day living. By doing this, you’re not only enlightening your child to the real world of the expense of life, but you are also enabling them to start a habit of their budgeting and saving for the future.

If your child receives an allowance, be sure to convey that while their money circulates throughout the world, it is in their hands to determine what to do with it. Are they wanting to spend it, save it, or perhaps give it to a charity? These money decisions should be your child’s as they worked for it. Be sure to provide them with some advice as to what it could go towards long-term versus short-term, or what it could accomplish by assisting an organization that seeks to make changes locally or globally.

With all of these opportunities to share your knowledge of money with your elementary school child, you are not only arming him or her with the knowledge to make better decisions for the future, but you are assisting them to develop on concepts that are crucial to future development.

For a list of resources for your elementary school student, check out JA’s programs here!

Tariff 101

What are Tariffs?

Tariffs are one of the oldest forms of regulated trade policy, as it places a tax on imported goods between two parties to regulate foreign trade to encourage or safeguard domestic industries through reducing the importation of a specific type of product.

The History Behind Tariffs

While you may have been hearing more talk of tariffs in the news, this is not the first time it has been front- and- center. Let’s go back to the mid-1760s when American colonists were struggling with trade policy specifically from the “motherland,” Great Britain. As the colonists were establishing themselves in “the new world,” Great Britain charged Americans high rates for goods that were in demand, such as glass, paper, tea, paint, etc. as well as printed products (The Stamp Act of 1765). Pretty random items to require a tax for, right? This was due to British Parliamentarian Charles Townshend’s belief that these items would be difficult for the colonists to produce on their own. This fee that was implemented by Great Britain to the colonists is known as the 1767 Townshend Acts.

You can imagine, the colonists were not happy to pay more taxes on goods. Other than boycotting the British products, the colonists’ frustrations soon reached an all-time high, and the gauntlet was dropped in 1770 when the “Boston Massacre” occurred during a protest of British tax laws. Eventually, Britain redacted the taxes it had imposed on all items, except for tea, which was a massive deal to the colonists as they drank 1.2 million pounds of it a year!

In May of 1773, it was official; the Tea Act was implemented, which meant that though the British East India Company was able to sell duty-free tea for less than other tea sold, the colonists still had to pay a tax when the tea reached the colonial ports. Enter the original rebellious and patriotic group of colonists—the Sons of Liberty (SOL). SOL demanded that the ships carrying tea return to England without unloading their shipments and without money from taxation, but the Governor and Chief of Justices of Massachusetts rejected their proposal and refused to permit the ships to return to England until the matter was resolved. The conflict erupted into more than 300 chests of tea being thrown overboard into the Boston Harbor, the Boston Tea Party.

Years later, Congress would pass the Tariff Act of 1789, which planned to raise revenues to benefit the “new government” by placing a tax (or tariff) on the importation of foreign goods, this act also aimed to encourage the states to increase domestic production in industries like glass and pottery by taxing the import of these goods from foreign countries.

The last significant chapter in Tariff history occurred more than 100 years later, in the early 1900s. Through the integration of the income tax and the immense industrial expansion in the 1800s, the government no longer needed tariffs to fund the federal government, nor did the U.S. need to protect its industry from foreign competition. This brings us to the Smoot-Hawley Tariff Act signed by President Herbert Hoover. This act sought to increase import “duties” (taxes) by an average rate of 20 percent. Through the struggles of the Stock Market Crash in 1929, the government was determined to protect American farmers from the economic shock caused by the Great Depression. In retrospect most economists agree Smoot-Hawley deepened the depression and counter legislation to reduce the impact of the tariffs was signed into law by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt in 1934.

The history of Tariffs goes way back to the beginning of the United States as it intertwines in the historical events you still remember from your high school history class.

To learn more about tariffs and their impact, check out JA Global Marketplace®

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