SPRINGFIELD — As part of its centennial anniversary celebration this year, Junior Achievement of Western Mass. will recognize the contributions that people, educators, and companies in Berkshire County have made during JA’s first 100 years on August 16.
A ceremony will be conducted to award Douglas Crane with the Founders Award. Crane is the fourth-generation grandson of U.S. Sen. Murray Crane from Massachusetts, one of the founders of Junior Achievement in 1919. The event will be held at the Crane Paper Museum, 32 Pioneer St., Dalton, at 11 a.m.,
In Berkshire County, hundreds of students each year participate in JA programs. Each year every student at Stearns School in Pittsfield participate in JA programs from kindergarten through grade 5. Andrew Mickle, a fifth-grade teacher at Stearns coordinates the program in partnership with Carol Maynard from RSVP of Pittsfield. Students at Taconic High have participated in the JA Stock Market Challenge for more than 10 years and this past year, students from Charles McCann Vocational Technical High School also participated. In addition, Taconic High School in partnership with Interprint, introduced JA Career Success. And Drury High School in North Adams students completed JA Personal Finance.
JA programs in Pittsfield and Berkshire County are supported through the generous donations of local businesses and individuals. Guardian Life Insurance provides a grant each year to fund JA programs in the region.
“JA of Western Massachusetts is very honored to receive funding from Guardian Life Insurance and to be able to bring JA programs to Berkshire County,” said Jennifer Connolly, president of Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts. “We look forward to growing JA in Berkshire County in the upcoming school year.”
Over the past 100 years, JA has evolved from operating primarily in the northeastern United States and teaching teens how to start a business into a multi-national organization reaching more than 10 million students in 100 countries. Its programs promote entrepreneurship, career and work readiness, and financial literacy. In the United States, JA reaches nearly 5 million students in grades kindergarten through 12th.
Junior Achievement was established in 1919 in Springfield by Horace Moses, founder of Strathmore Paper; Theodore Vail, AT&T chairman; and U.S. Sen. Murray Crane from Massachusetts. It was established in response to families moving from farms to the growing industrial cities; the goal was to provide young people with job skills in their new communities.
This year Junior Achievement has been celebrating its centennial year with national and local events planned throughout the year.
“Very few organizations make it to 100 years, much less continue to grow and thrive like Junior Achievement has,” said Connelly. “We’re taking this opportunity to celebrate and honor what’s come before, but also look toward the future as we work to inspire and prepare our young people to succeed in our ever-changing world.”