Junior Achievement Changes Students' Thinking about Their Futures

Maria Louisa Soto, a second-grade teacher at L.B. Barton Elementary School in Irving, Texas, was impressed by the life-changing effect that Junior Achievement had on her class. Last school year was the first time Soto experienced a JA in a Day event, when her school hosted American Airlines volunteers. Soto said that Junior Achievement changed her students' thinking about their futures.

Before Junior Achievement volunteers taught in her class, Soto's students often talked about wanting to work at local fast-food restaurants, where some of their parents worked. However, after learning about businesses in the community, production, taxes and finance with the JA volunteers, the students began to change their minds. They did not want to work at these fast-food places any more. Now, they wanted to own them.The experience with Junior Achievement had the students thinking about their new goals and how to attain them--including college. At first, most students assumed that high school was the end of the road and they could not name any of the colleges in the area. Later, they began to learn the names of area colleges and even a little about each one.

The students decided to name their table groups after colleges and their mascots. Soto was grateful for her experience with the American Airlines volunteers through JA in a Day. Soto explained, "Junior Achievement really opened new doors for my students. It made higher learning and high earning possible."

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