Over 40 Bay Path business students volunteered recently for “JA in a Day,” the largest Junior Achievement (JA) event in Massachusetts, helping to educate more than 1,400 high school freshmen representing three local schools. Bay Path students were joined by professionals in the region, as well as fellow college students from Elms, in helping high schoolers build skills in financial literacy, while developing their own leadership and public speaking skills.
“I’m majoring in business and marketing, so I loved having the opportunity to share my passion and knowledge of budgeting, finances, and career outcomes with younger students,” said Elizabeth Demerski ’18. “I am a very introverted individual, so public speaking makes my stomach drop. But I continue to face my fears and do it so I can master it someday. Although it was challenging to break out of my shell and initiate the flow of the class, in the end, it was so rewarding to be able to walk away feeling like I lit a spark for someone.”
Amanda LaDouceur ‘19, majoring in marketing and interior design, found the biggest challenge to be encouraging active discussion and participation, but she was able to break the ice with the students by sharing personal anecdotes with them.
“My class started out being very quiet, but I used humor and my own personality to get them to open up a bit. I express myself creatively through my appearance, like my hot pink hair and bold clothing, and offered that as an example of why I’m choosing to pursue a career in a creative field. That got them talking,” LaDoucer said.
For Demerski, the journey with JA won’t end here.
“I had so much fun that I am in the process of bringing JA in a Day to the school I graduated from in Chicopee, MA. I’m inspired by the experience of teaching valuable career skills to students. Also, I want to give back to a place that gave me so much, and JA would be the perfect way to do so,” she said.
A worldwide organization, Junior Achievement was launched in 1919 in Springfield, MA—only one of the many “firsts” that have defined the city and its long business history. Today, the organization helps educate roughly 10 million people internationally on life skills. Bay Path has participated in JA in a Day for five years under the guidance of Kara Stevens, Director, Accounting Programs, Assistant Professor of Accounting.
“As the Director of Accounting Programs at Bay Path and a member of the Board of Directors for Junior Achievement, I sincerely thank all of the students and faculty who participated in this year’s event. It was an amazing turnout and the impact that the Bay Path community had on the Springfield high school community was incredible. Our students took on leadership positions teaching financial literacy concepts to high school students and did a wonderful job,” Stevens said.