JA In The News - Junior Achievement USA

Feeling the Rhythm with Junior Achievement

JA Launch Lesson took center stage in Mr. McHugh’s Entrepreneurial Class this past November of 2017. Brian Harris and Owen McCarthy of MedRhythms, a Maine-based music-therapy company, taught 15 students the journey of starting a company.

Mc. McHugh, the classroom teacher, stated, “It went great- speakers were passionate about their business, students were engaged and asked questions—would highly recommend this to any teacher.”

The students took to the entrepreneurial lessons as the two speakers answered questions they had about business ownership.

“I thought those two were awesome...” commented a student, “They came in and had a really fantastic presentation which made me become very interested in what they were doing. Their progress so far is very inspiring and completely changed my outlook on starting your own business. Not for yourself, but for others.”

JA Launch Lesson is a program that is delivered by local community entrepreneurs where students gain firsthand knowledge about starting a business and the entrepreneurial journey. This 50-minute educational lesson provides a highly engaging experience for students, volunteers and the classroom educators. 

Volunteer Soars with Junior Achievement

This JA Feel Good Moment comes from an American Airlines employee that volunteered through Junior Achievement of Dallas, Inc.

“Thank you for the message. I wanted to tell you thank you for coordinating and go ahead and give you my feedback because yesterday really made an impact on me.

When Crystal and I came to pick up the information I was very intimidated. The days leading up to it, I really wanted to back out with whatever excuse I could find. Luckily I didn’t. Yesterday was truly a highlight of my career with AAG. Being able to deliver information to those kids and seeing how grateful they were for us to be there truly made me feel like a better person. It is amazing how being there for just a few hours can really get you attached to kids and see how much of an influence you have.

I will be forever in debt to the opportunity given to me yesterday and I look forward to it each year because I will do it as long as it is offered.  Thanks again for the opportunity.”



Winners of the 2017 JA National Student Leadership Summit

The  National Student Leadership Summit  (NSLS) is part of Junior Achievement’s annual celebration of the accomplishments of  JA Company Program ®  students, ages 15-19, from across the United States. They develop and market a product or service with the goal of realizing a profit for their shareholders. Reaching nearly 14,000 U.S. students during the 2015-16 school year who created nearly 700 start-ups, JA Company Program gives teens the skills to start and run their own businesses under the mentorship of a local business volunteer.

This pinnacle event brings together 15 JA student companies to our nation's capital for three days of high-impact JA experiences. The Summit features the  JA Company of the Year powered by  The Hartford , the FedEx  Access Award, the  Delta Social Impact Award and the  ICE NYSE Foundation  Best Financial Performance Award.

The winners of this year's National Student Leadership Summit (NSLS) are :

JA Company of the Year Award


On Wednesday, June 21, 2017, in  Washington, D.C., Junior Achievement USA ® (JA) named the teen entrepreneurs who created the student-run start-up  Alpha Necessities from  Junior Achievement of South Florida (Fort Lauderdale Area) as winners of the 2017 JA Company of the Year, powered by The Hartford. The team was selected from among 15 competing student companies representing JA operations across the country. Each member of the winning team present in Washington, DC received a $4,000 scholarship from The Hartford. The award is given to the student business that most effectively demonstrates their companies’ achievements, as well as the personal development of each team member.

The second-place team was Knada , representing JA of Southeastern Pennsylvania (Philadelphia Area). Each member of the team present in Washington, DC received a $2,000 scholarship from The Hartford. The third-place team is Crimson Café, representing  JA of the Upper Midwest (Minnesota and North Dakota area). Each member present at the summit received a $1,000 scholarship from The Hartford.

FedEx Access Award

Feel the Color is the winner of the FedEx Access Award

Feel the Color , representing  JA of the Chisholm Trail (Fort Worth Area), was the winner of the FedEx Access Award. The FedEx Access Award is given to the JA student company which best demonstrates their understanding and application of global access, leveraging international trade to create jobs, grow small businesses, expand global development and improve the environment. “At FedEx, we’re passionate about making the connections that improve lives,” said Rose Flenorl, manager of Global Citizenship at FedEx.

Delta Social Impact Award

Alpha Necessities is the winner of the Delta Social Impact Award

Alpha Necessities representing  JA of South Florida, won the Delta Social Impact Award by applying entrepreneurial thinking to create a realistic, achievable, and innovative solution (product, service, event, ad, campaign) to a (local, national, or global) social concern. The teens also had to describe the lessons they learned from the challenge.

ICE NYSE Foundation Best Financial Performance Award

Knada won the ICE/NYSE Best Financial Performance Award 

Knada from Junior Achievement of Southeastern Pennsylvania was the recipient of the  Intercontinental Exchange/New York Stock Exchange Foundation “Best Financial Performance” Award. This award is presented to the JA student company with the best achievement against the following metrics: Profitability, exceeding Investor Expectations, Employee Earnings, Product Quality, Leadership, and Operational Efficiency. An evaluation was done of Company Reports; five finalists were interviewed by experts in the financial industry.

Social Media Award

CHAAO, Good Nashville, and Pick-Me-Up won the Social Media Award 

The Social Media Award was presented to the group of three JA Companies who generated the most Tweets during the week’s event. In all, 15 participating teams were assigned into five groups and tasked with Tweeting about JA and this Summit, using assigned hashtags. The representatives of the winning group each received a gift card. 

Jim Sweeny Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence

Congrats to Sierra RyanWallick from JA of Delaware (Wilmington Area). She is the recipient of the Sweeny Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence!

Congrats to Sierra RyanWallick from JA of Delaware (Wilmington Area).
She is the recipient of the Sweeny Award for Entrepreneurial Excellence!

Sierra Ryan Wallick from Wilmington, Delaware was the winner of the 2017 Jim Sweeny Award . This $1,000 scholarship is named in honor of Jim Sweeny, a JA executive at the local and national levels, who, for 32 years, played a critical and influential role in shaping the future of Junior Achievement. The JA Pioneers, our retiree organization, created this scholarship in his honor. It is awarded to a JA Company Program student in recognition of his or her accomplishments, role in their JA Company, and entrepreneurial potential.

Junior Achievement would like to express our sincere gratitude to The Hartford, EY, FedEx, ICE NYSE Foundation, and Delta for their generosity and continued investment in JA students.



Feel the Color

Jakayla Dixon of North Texas is changing the way visually impaired people choose their clothing.

When Jakayla was a young girl, she would visit her aunt in Louisiana. Her aunt became blind as an adult, and would often ask for Jakayla’s assistance in selecting clothes that matched color-wise. Jakayla often wondered how blind people who didn’t have assistance were able to match their clothing.

This idea stayed with Jakayla as she grew older, and it became a driver behind the creation of her student company when she joined the Junior Achievement Company program as a high school freshman. Like any startup, the JA Company Program aims to solve a problem or fill a need in their community through entrepreneurial endeavor. The program helps do this by promoting concepts like developing a business plan, learning financial tools, sourcing product through a supply chain, and promoting it through sales and marketing.

Through research into the subject, Jakayla found that the only solution for the visually impaired community was a tag made from aluminum that was etched with braille. Not wanting to wear metal on her own clothing, Jakayla began to brainstorm other possibilities, which led her to her idea, patented cloth tags that can be used by the blind to match clothing.

Through Junior Achievement of Chisholm Trail in Fort Worth, TX, Jakayla has been able to meet with clothing industry professionals, as well as business management executives, in order to expand her understanding of running a successful business. JA has also assisted her in protecting her idea by having her meet with an attorney to help her patent her tag design.

As of now, Jakayla is working on innovating her idea by creating a tag from silk that will have the name of the color embroidered in both Braille and the English Alphabet letters, to help those visually impaired and those who are colorblind. She hopes to partner with clothing designers in the future so that she can provide her product to all visually impaired people.

Her innovative design and concept earned her the Junior Achievement Company of the year in her region. In June of 2017, she and four others represented the company at the JA National Student Leadership Summit in Washington, DC, where they won the FedEx Access Award for their innovative business. 

Advocating Life Lessons

Jane Carlson, a Career Education Coordinator at Thousand Oaks High School in California has experienced the impact of Junior Achievement programs from parents AND students.

Through Junior Achievement programs Carlson feels that her students are not only more knowledgeable about their personal finances and the importance of saving, but they are also more aware and prepared for what it takes in order to succeed in the “real world.”

Adding to student success she’s observed as a result JA programs, one of her students revealed that she aspired to start preparing for her future right away. “She was inspired to make it a habit starting now of paying all her own expenses for clothing, entertainment, and her share of the family utility costs, rather than wait until she is older to adjust to paying those expenses. She now contributed to her family by giving her parents a monthly check. Little does she know that they are secretly saving that money for her college tuition,” reported Carlson.

As her current students prepare for high school graduation, she has received requests from parents for their child to revisit Junior Achievement programs. “Now that graduation and college expenses are approaching, the parents are wanting their seniors to go back to JA Finance Park in order to build upon their budgeting skills,” Carlson said.

“The parents report how surprised they were when they picked up their students after JA Finance Park and heard the words, “Thank you, I didn’t realize how much you have to pay for our living expenses.” The students became more appreciative of the money spent on their behalf,” said Carlson.

Her enthusiasm and engagement with Junior Achievement within her high school classroom has resulted in her winning  Junior Achievement of Southern California’s Teacher of the Year. Welcoming Junior Achievement programs into her classroom is something she plans on continuing as she’s experienced the value behind preparing students for their futures with JA on her side.

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  • "Junior Achievement has given me a sense of what adults go through with budget issues."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "Junior Achievement reinforced concepts for me to remember later in life."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "I thought the experience was amazing. The presentation was unlike anything I've seen."

    -Junior Achievement Student
  • "I liked how the Junior Achievement volunteer explained his job to us."

    -Junior Achievement Student

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