Learning to write a check, build homes or run a business is something that many people learn after they graduate from high school.
For third graders at Rock Springs Elementary school, the pilot Junior Achievement program gave the students early exposure to these concepts.
â€œRock Springs signed up to have JA one session per week for five weeks,â€ said Michelle Punch, director of programs for JA of Central Carolina. â€œThe sessions lasted for 45 minutes, and we provided lesson plans and coordinated all activities.â€
Members of JA, teachers and principal Rhonda Harrill of Rock Springs and members of Denver/Lake Norman Rotary Club celebrated success of the pilot JA program last Wednesday morning at Westport Country Club.
Volunteers, like UPS Store owner Peter Browne, taught one of the sessions. Browne is also a member of Denver/Lake Norman rotary.
â€œI got letters from the students telling me they enjoyed the program,â€ he said.
He said rotary is looking to go into other east Lincoln elementary schools.
â€œWe want to expand this program in 2006 to Catawba Springs and St. James Elementaries, as well as have a second session at Rock Springs.â€
Jane Rowe, another volunteer, was impressed with the studentsâ€™ enthusiasm.
â€œThe students were very excited,â€ she said. â€œThe kids made volunteers feel like stars because we came and spent time with them.â€
Besides business concepts, rotary member Joe Lampron said the students learned about other concepts, like city planning and construction.
In order to expand in 2006, he said, there needs to be more volunteers.
Harrill said students were enthusiastic about being the first school in Lincoln County to have JA and that feedback from parents were overwhelmingly positive.
â€œI knew from the start the students would be successful,â€ she said. â€œThey have an abundance of talent. The financial support by rotary and the talent of the teachers and the students made the program successful.â€
Third grader Cooper Marshall told the rotary gathering he learned a lot.
â€œI learned how to write checks and be a restaurant manager. I also learned about building and architecture,â€ he said.
Classmate Ryan Reiser said his favorite thing to do was to build houses.
â€œWe learned where to put houses when we learned about city planning,â€ he said.
Third grade student Virginia Crooks learned about internal operations of a restaurant.
â€œI liked learning about hiring people and how much food costs.â€
Denver/Lake Norman Rotary President Marty Smith said it was enjoyable to work with the teachers and students at Rock Springs.
Junior Achievement uses hands-on experiences to help young people understand the economics of life. In partnership with business and educators, JA brings the real world to students, opening their minds to their potential.
â€œWe run programs from Asheville east to Winston-Salem and as far south as Fort Mill, SC.,â€ said Punch.
JA of Central Carolina serves 39 counties in both North and South Carolina.
by Jon Mayhew