Florida Students Benefit from Dedicated Team

Those rousing cheers from central Florida may not be from "The Swamp." Drive about nine miles west on SW 24th Avenue in Gainesville and you may find the source of real excitement is coming from the engaged fifth grade students at Queen of Peace Catholic Academy (QPA). Thanks to a powerful team of JA teachers and a dedicated volunteer, students are preparing themselves for successful futures through the JA Our Nation program.

JA Our Nation is Junior Achievement's fifth-grade program that provides practical information about businesses? need for individuals who can meet the demands of the job market, including high-growth, high-demand jobs. The program introduces the need for students to be entrepreneurial in their thinking. According to Diane Smith, executive director of Junior Achievement of Alachua County, JA volunteer David Hanson recently shared his JA experience at QPA. "It was a great seeing how excited the students were every week when I entered the classroom," Hanson said. "I am amazed at how bright these fifth graders are! They came up with great innovative ideas, and I envision all of them making a difference in the future. They are smart, and I find it very rewarding to see the innovation and ideas formulate in their minds."

Hanson used the entrepreneurial success story of "Wicked Whoopie Pies" to illustrate coursework principles. Founder Amy Bouchard, a homemaker from Gardiner, Maine, is a profitable entrepreneur who is whipping up more than 7,000 of her Wicked Whoopie pies a day. Bouchard was contacted by Hanson when he started teaching the JA program. Bouchard believes in Junior Achievement's philosophy and donated one of her delicious pies to each student. She sent the pies to Florida so the students could enjoy the sweets while learning about what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur.

"What a great way to end five informative sessions together, by sharing a product that came from a vision, and reinforced everything we have learned this year in Junior Achievement! I value the time that I have spent with the fifth grade, and I look forward to the opportunity of teaching JA again next year," Hanson concluded.

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