Former teacher helps other educators bring vital JA programs to students

Many years ago, as a high school teacher, I received a phone call from a Junior Achievement program manager who informed me that I had been assigned a Junior Achievement volunteer. This volunteer would be visiting my classroom every Friday for an entire semester to present the JA Company Program to my students. Evidently, the teacher I had replaced had requested this program before leaving the school. Unsure of the situation, I set up a meeting with the volunteer to learn more about the program. The volunteer’s enthusiasm about the JA program was contagious, and I agreed to give it a try.

The JA volunteer led my students on a journey that semester that they would never forget. Friday became the students’ highlight of the week, as they learned what it meant to start up a business and to take on leadership roles. The students gained confidence in themselves and knowledge about the world of business. Most importantly, they were inspired to try out new ideas and not be afraid to fail.  Sharing his personal experiences, the Junior Achievement volunteer taught them that hard work and determination could overcome challenges.

On the end of the semester written evaluations, every student remarked that the best part of my class was having Junior Achievement.  I tried not to take it too personally. 🙂

I loved my experience with Junior Achievement so much that it inspired me to join the organization.  Several years ago, I had the good fortune to join Junior Achievement as a program manager, connecting students in grades K-12 with caring business and community volunteers. Recently, Junior Achievement continued to support my professional growth within the organization by creating a district manager position for the Mountain District in order to expand JA’s reach to students in outlying mountain communities.

I am now in my 15th year with Junior Achievement, and I feel so lucky to be able to bring the same eye-opening opportunities to students in rural areas that my former high school students experienced.  Through the years, Junior Achievement has never faltered in its mission to inspire and prepare young people to earn their financial success.


Sally Messinger
District Manager – Mountain Communities