“Third Grade Rocks! The students still think we’re cool.”

David Scarbeary believes that the third grade Junior Achievement (JA) program, Our City, is an important step for students to understand how to listen to their passion and understand their special aptitudes.  David’s aptitude is in analysis and working with numbers in areas such as economics, corporate finance, mergers, acquisitions and most recently crafting forecast models for a large customer care organization.  David shares his skills and knowledge in these critical business areas with students and states, “I enjoy talking with them, having them share what they like most – writing, math, science.”  He enjoys helping students understand how their skills or passions may point them toward a career path and what educational needs are required for different careers.

David has extensive and varied business knowledge and shares his job and career with the students; he started at the Denver Post newspaper at 8 years old!  His background ranges from washing dishes, pumping gas, bank check processing, delivering pizzas to being a CFO/COO of a medium-sized business! By sharing his extensive background, he feels it gives the students a sense that careers are ever changing and “one might not be able to predict how a particular skill, background, passion or experience can lead to the next opportunity in life.”  Currently, David is the Senior Manager of Forecasting and Business Operations at DIRECTV.

David is a long supporter of JA as he started volunteering in 2002.  He feels that JA makes a valuable contribution to the students’ understanding of economics and careers.  David’s skills in finance and economics help him contribute and he finds working with children to be a rewarding experience.  David has supported Junior Achievement in many different Denver Public Schools, starting with Castro, where he worked with fifth grade students. Many students at Castro were English Language Learners (ELL) – the students were primarily Spanish speaking. Even though David did not speak Spanish, he did not feel this was an issue because the teacher was available at all times and helpful in translating, whenever needed.  David reminisced about a particular student who had a hard time understanding the program in English and would get help from fellow students or the teacher.  His experience helped David to understand clearly the challenges an ELL student faces in an English taught classroom. David stated, “I will never forget, though, how much this child would light up and enjoy the program we had to offer with JA. I’m certain the experience made a difference to him and his peers.”

When a volunteer was needed at Slavens Elementary in Ms. Pavao’s class, David readily went to help start Junior Achievement at Slavens. David’s connection with Ms. Pavao led to him returning to her class each year for the past 10 years!  Each year, Ms. Pavao’s asks to have David back in his classroom, which is complimentary of his expertise and dedication!  David postulated, “This school, the teacher [Mrs. Pavao], the children and the third grade JA program have given me such a reward in return that I’ve ask to return with Mrs. Pavao each year.”  David enjoys the third grade children immensely – two of his favorite lessons are teaching check writing in the banking exercise and the restaurant entrepreneur exercise.  In check writing, David enjoys showing the students how to write the check amount so someone doesn’t change it and cash it for more, to help them understand how to protect their money. David also likes to watch the students write their signature on the check as he feels it is a good lesson in cursive writing.  He has found the restaurant entrepreneur lesson engaging when the students’ tally up the food types chosen across the teams and compare to the market survey of food preferences.

David’s extensive background and skills, combined with the JA programs, go a long way to help students realize their economic potential and career opportunities.  David feels that having the opportunity to participate each year to present JA to students is a privilege that he looks forward to all year long.