Junior Achievement brings mentoring program to PCMS
In one sixth-grade class students at Port Chester Middle School were having so much fun trying to outdo one another during a Jeopardy-like game they may not have realized they were learning about movers and shakers in the business world.
“Yes!” and a fist bump was the response of members of Team Galaxy when they gave a correct response.
Volunteers from PepsiCo, Sandy Vasquez and Dawne Greaves, hosted the game. The two were at the school as part of Junior Achievement’s mentoring program.
Students were asked about the work of Steve Jobs, Oprah Winfrey and a host of other business leaders.
It came down to the wire as teams Pepsi Rams, Spicy Girls and Team Galaxy each vied for the lead. In the end, the Pepsi Rams proved victorious, earning 275 points, followed by Team Galaxy and the Spicy Girls.
Sixth-and-seventh graders took a break from their regular classes on Oct. 26 when guests from Junior Achievement of New York visited their school to introduce students to business concepts and leaders, and start them thinking about their own futures.
Orla Fitzsimons, director of the Lower Hudson Valley Operations with JA, said her organization teaches K-12 students’ financial literacy.
“The earlier the better,” she said. “We find in high school we present concepts they can bring with them into the working world.”
“Both volunteers, teachers and students love the JA experience,” Ms. Fitzsimons said. “The volunteers have an opportunity to impact students while sharing a little about themselves and their motivation to succeed. Students learn about money, jobs and business, concepts they can use throughout their school and careers.”
JA was founded in 1919 and began in the mid-1970s to visit classrooms to help students think about their future, financially as well as in terms of their career goals. Each year Junior Achievement USA works with 4.9 million students and has a network of 243,756 volunteers who go into classrooms.
JA of New York Lower Hudson regional offices work with more than 900 corporations and have brought their programs to 14,200 students throughout the region.
“JA New York has a longstanding relationship with PepsiCo, and we value their commitment to bring students experiential learning opportunities in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship,” Ms. Fitzsimons said.
Mr. Vasquez and Ms. Greaves were among 27 PepsiCo volunteers visiting PCMS on this day.
Ms. Greaves said she decided to volunteer as a way to help students. This was her first volunteer experience with the JA.
“They’ve been very interactive,” she said of the students’ response so far, following the morning session with students.
“I’m passionate about the JA course,” said Mr. Vasquez, who was making his second trip to PCMS as a JA volunteer. “You see the kids get an opportunity to learn what is in their future, how to be better.”
“It’s exciting to be able to work with the kids and help develop their skills for business,” he added.
When the students had finished their game and received their monetary prizes in the form of Junior Achievement Dollars, they remained in their teams to brainstorm ideas for a new pretend company they would create as an exercise in starting a business.
They were tasked with developing a concept, creating a name, drawing up plans as to what their business would look like, and determining the best course for bringing their business from an idea to a reality.