Community Leaders Bring Real-World Education to Local Classrooms

Michelle DiGilarmo helps students with an activity during a JA class. (Provided photo)

Michelle DiGilarmo helps students with an activity during a JA class. (Provided photo)

DUBOIS – Today’s youth need inspiration, hope and the opportunity to learn life skills that will engage them in their education and better prepare them for life after graduation.

Junior Achievement programs teach young people the three pillars of success: financial literacy, entrepreneurship and workplace readiness. 

One group who is making that happen locally is Junior Achievement (JA).  With the participation from local JA business executives and volunteers, JA has an ongoing presence in the area.  

At Junior Achievement, young people are equipped with the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future and make smart academic and economic choices.  

JA’s corporate and community volunteers deliver relevant, hands-on experiences that give students from kindergarten through high school knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. 

JA programs empower students to make a connection between what they learn in school and how it can be applied in the real world, enhancing the relevance of their classroom learning and increasing their understanding of the value of staying in school.

Locally, JA is providing relevant, age-appropriate, experiential programs to classrooms in the area during the 2016-17 school year.  The Economics for Success classes have just been completed in the seventh grade at DuBois Middle School.  

In these courses, students learned about personal finance and education and career options based on their skills, interests and values.  The six lessons focus on credit, debt, insurance, interest, needs and wants, net income and risk. 

A hallmark of JA is its unique use of local business and community volunteers who come into the classroom to deliver JA programs. 

Several community leaders taught the classes, including: Manda Shaw (Paris Companies), Bill Cuba and Bob Javens (Reynolds Financial Advisors), Kim Deible (HAS of America), Michelle DiGilarmo (Christ the King Manor), Aaron Peters (Advanced Chiropractic of DuBois), Todd Miller (S&T Bank), Katie Snedden (Janney Montgomery Scott), Stefanie Penvose and Anna Akintunde (Penn State) and Amber Siverling, Stepanie Fegert, Trie’sena Brown and Andrew Page (Penn State students).

For more information on Junior Achievement or to get involved, please contact Greg Sands at 814-590-3480 or e-mail

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