Harmony Hill Elementary students put aside their traditional classroom work on Tuesday for “JA in a Day” – a day of learning about financial literacy and career readiness.
Representatives from Junior Achievement, along with volunteers from National Grid, Ayco, CSArch, NY Courts, and Maximus visited each classroom to teach fun lessons about businesses, entrepreneurship, community and finance.
The lessons they dispense to students start them early on a path of career readiness. They also go hand-in-hand with what students are taught throughout the year.
“JA provides our students with the opportunity to learn the skills needed to develop and run a business,” explained Harmony Hill Principal Mark Perry. “They started the discussion about different careers and we continue that conversation throughout the year.”
For example, students had the fun task of coming up with a business idea and writing a business plan. Students learned common traits of entrepreneurs, tasks performed by business owners and how to solve problems.
Volunteers asked students to match up popular entrepreneurs – such as Milton Hershey and William Harley and Arthur Davidson – with the businesses they started.
Another lesson centered around the importance of money to a city and its citizens, and about earning, saving, and sharing money.
“I like how we played games and learned how we can spend our money,” said one third-grader.
When discussing communities, students were also introduced to the idea that family members’ jobs and businesses contribute to the well-being of the family and the community’s economy.
Using a pizza shop as an example, they learned about the experience of working as a team, buying and selling of goods and services in exchange for money, getting paid and paying taxes, exercising their civic duty to make decisions for the good of the community, and using digital tools.
But, perhaps the highlight of the day for many of the kids was being able to check out the National Grid trucks and learn about the equipment.
“Students loved visiting the trucks and spending time with the great volunteers,” said Mr. Perry. “Our school loves and appreciates Junior Achievement and all of the volunteers.”
Chris Horne, president of Junior Achievement of Northeastern NY echoed the sentiment.
“We’re so grateful to Cohoes City School District and National Grid for their support in bringing Junior Achievement lessons in financial literacy and career readiness to Harmony Hill Elementary,” she said. “These kinds of learning experiences leave a lasting impression on students and help to inspire and prepare them for the future.”
JA in a Day will be coming to Abram Lansing and Van Schaick later in the school year.
For more than 100 years, Junior Achievement has offered programs and resources to schools that empower and prepare students to drive their economic futures. Last year, JA of Northeastern NY served nearly 13,000 K-12 students across the Capital Region with over 400 classroom volunteers from various local businesses. JA is global; JA Worldwide was nominated for the 2023 Nobel Peace Prize.