“As an organization, Junior Achievement believes in the boundless potential of young people and in
the power of partnership and collaboration,” states Carol Lucio,
executive director of Junior Achievement OKI Partners, Inc. “We want
to help inspire and prepare young people to succeed.”
is the third year that Lakota junior high school students, along with
students from Hamilton and Fairfield schools, participated in JA’s
Job Exploration Day in late March. With an initial group of 200 Lakota
students visiting 16 job sites, the participation has grown to more
than 600 Lakota junior high students - or approximately 45 percent of
the district’s 8th graders - visiting 30 businesses.
from all four Lakota junior high schools – Hopewell, Liberty, Plains
and Ridge – discovered potential career paths through their visits. This
year the focus was on transferable skills, as employers often note
the need to instruct new employees in “soft” skills, such as corporate
culture, interpersonal relations and business etiquette.
knowing what business casual means to how to properly shake hands, it
is often those softer skills that can set apart a solid employee,”
explains Lucio. “We’ve heard loud and clear from the employers that
such experience and knowledge is crucial to helping a youth understand
and be prepared for the business world.”
of the companies participating this year agreed to incorporate such
topics into their presentations. For example, the West Chester Liberty
Chamber Alliance reviewed proper table manners during the lunch
period with their visiting students. The businesses came up with many
unique and captivating methods in which to engage and inform the
“Junior Achievement’s Job Exploration Day is a
wonderful opportunity to introduce our junior high students to
successful businesspeople who can serve as examples and inspiration,”
says Dr. Lon Stettler, director of Lakota’s internship programs. “This
step is the first of many job shadowing and internships that the
district offers, ranging from introductory-type events to prolonged
internships and mentorships that take a much deeper dive.”
lot of connections are made during the day, with many students
following up with the company they visited. The day also exposes local
professionals to Lakota students.
“We received so many
compliments about how the students engaged and how they represented
themselves,” said Andre Gendreau, Ridge Junior principal. “It’s a great
way to remind the community of the quality and character of our
Junior Achievement a Beacon of Hope
For Lakota West sophomore Julie Naylor
, an eighth grade field trip changed her perspective on life.
was part of the first group of Lakota junior high school students
offered the opportunity to participate in Lakota’s Junior Achievement
job exposure day. Her visit to a local technology company, Contingent,
“opened her eyes to the vast world of business,” helping her discover a
passion for technology as a potential career.
More important than that, though: “The Junior Achievement program gave me the hope that I was longing for,” Julie said.
desire for hope was rooted in the bouts of poverty and homelessness
she had experienced throughout her childhood, now more of a distant
memory. At a recent Lakota school board meeting, Julie shared with the
community how Junior Achievement literally transformed her outlook
for the future. It was the same story she had shared at the Junior
Achievement breakfast earlier this year, after being selected from
thousands of students who have participated in the program, at Lakota
and other Butler and Warren county districts.
Julie Naylor was recognized during the Student Spotlight segment at a recent Board of Education meeting.
is all some children see in their day to day lives. If they can’t see
opportunity, then we need to bring opportunity to them,” said Julie,
acknowledging how grateful she was for that chance.
seems to be an occupation for all different kinds of people, depending
on what their interests are,” Julie observed at Contingent. “No one
individual should go without finding a career that they are advanced in
Julie attributes her enthusiasm, confidence and
motivation to succeed in school to the epiphany she had through Junior
Achievement. She hopes that other students, especially those who have
faced similar struggles, might have a similar experience early in their
“Once they find hope, they find motivation. Once
they find motivation, they drive toward success. And once they find
success, they make the world a much better place,” Julie stated in her