A $2,000 grant from the Beckley Area Foundation allowed a Junior Achievement's classroom volunteer to inspire students at Cranberry-Prosperity, Maxwell Hill, and St. Francis deSales elementary schools. The 4th grade teachers at these schools submitted a request for Junior Achievement's financial literacy and workforce readiness curriculum for their students. Volunteer, Ronn Robinson of American Electric Power works with the teachers at these schools to deliver the Junior Achievement (JA) curriculum and inspire these students.
Many of the students in these classrooms qualify for free or reduced lunch. Maxwell Hill Elementary has a 52% free and reduced lunch population, Cranberry Prosperity Elementary has a 93% free and reduced lunch population and St. Francis deSales has a free and reduced lunch population of 21%. JA programs inspire students to think beyond the normal school day and dream about their future careers and workplaces. These are children who, in many cases, have forgotten that it is okay to dream about the future because they are so focused on just getting through the day. JA has reignited their passion for breaking through the walls that may be limiting their views of the future.
During the six Junior Achievement classes, Ronn was successful in making students aware of opportunities they didn’t realize existed. He was also able to illustrate the value of education and how it correlates to their success later in life with an emphasis on the importance of staying in school and graduating from high school.
The teachers at these schools welcome Ronn back to their classrooms each year because he has a gift of inspiration and they realize the value of his participation as a classroom volunteer and the value of the Junior Achievement message. Most of all, Junior Achievement and Ronn, instill “hope” for the future in each child, something that cannot be underestimated.
One Maxwell Hill Elementary teacher commented, “Mr. Robinson has completed the Junior Achievement Program in my fourth grade classroom now for the last 4 years. It is a wonderful learning opportunity for my students to learn about Economics and do hands on activities related with the concepts. Mr. Robinson does a wonderful job facilitating and teaching the students. My students always look forward to when he comes. They study the previous week’s content on their own so they can do well in the game he always plays upon returning. The concepts he teaches through the Junior Achievement program align with the West Virginia Fourth Grade College and Career Readiness Standards. I feel JA is important for several reasons, the content is required to be taught and JA makes it fun for the kids to learn. It is great to see my students so excited to learn about real life issues. I also feel it is important to have people from the community be involved with our students. I hope Mr. Robinson and the Junior Achievement Program continues for many years.”
A heartfelt thank you from the BAF Board of Directors and staff to Ronn Robinson and Junior Achievement for opening the students' eyes to opportunities that are possible.