School Principal Reflects on the Value of JA Over a 50-Year Span

Junior Achievement alumni recall fondly the lessons, activities and challenges that helped to create the success that they now enjoy. This story from Connecticut is no different. School principal Dr. Judith S. Gross had experience with Junior Achievement when she was in high school--so she was quite familiar with the value of JA programs. Bernadine Venditto, president of Junior Achievement of Western Connecticut, shared Judy's story.

"The recession took the importance of fiscal education from the back of the stove and placed it on the front burner," Judy commented. "How can we expect our pupils to become responsible, contributing adults if they don't understand how to manage money?

"Long before the rest of the world caught up, Junior Achievement was there. As a high school student, I learned how a business develops from the ground up. We elected corporate officers, sold stock, manufactured a product, shared the profits, and still had enough left over for a picnic," Judy said.

"I carried what I had learned into the classroom with me. When I developed Bridgeport's current Talented and Gifted Program, Junior Achievement played an important role in the curriculum. Your program opened the world of finance to me. My students participated in the Stock Market game, ran fundraisers to pay for field trips, and scheduled and ran successful school-wide projects.

"[The students'] many accomplishments led to my being the only Bridgeport teacher to be selected as a Connecticut state Teacher of the Year," Judy concluded. "A great deal of what I have accomplished started off back in 1959, at Bassick High School when a shy junior learned to make bath salts at Junior Achievement."

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