We recently got to celebrate one of our very favorite days of the year at JA of Lincoln – our annual Junior Achievement’s Spirit of Achievement Luncheon. It’s the day that lets us pause to recognize the outstanding friends, volunteers, and educators who make our mission possible every day. It truly takes an army to take our message of financial literacy, business ethics, and entrepreneurship to thousands upon thousands of students every year, and every year we are excited to single out those individuals who have truly made an impact and gone above and beyond.
As always, our program began with the passing of the torch from our outgoing Board President to our new leader. We are so grateful to Brett Harris for his year of exceptional leadership, and we look forward to a wonderful year with Ken Svoboda at the helm!
Bronze Leadership Awards
Each year, the JA USA board of directors selects a very limited number of volunteers from across the nation to lift up as “extraordinarily effective in program delivery and support,” and we were honored to be home to three Bronze award winners and one Silver award winner this year. They are:
Liz Ring Carlson
Public Affairs Field Manager for State Farm Insurance Companies
Liz has been heavily involved in JA’s programs since she was a student in high school, and has remained an active JA supporter and volunteer. Because of Liz’s advocacy, State Farm is the largest corporate contributor to JA, both financially and through volunteers.
Director of Sales and Marketing with B&R Stores
Because of Larry’s efforts, B&R Stores has increased their involvement in Junior Achievement significantly over the last few years. Because of his tenacity and enthusiasm, employees from various Super Saver and Russ’s Market locations around Lincoln taught in 16 classrooms this school year.
Principal of Kooser Elementary School
Ann has made sure her schools, first Norwood Park and for the last five years at Kooser, have been all JA schools, where every classroom participates in JA. We are proud to say that Kooser has more JA classrooms than any other school in Lincoln.
Silver Leadership Award
Dr. Steve Joel
Superintendent of Lincoln Public Schools
Steve joined the JA Board of Trustees shortly after his arrival in Lincoln, and has been a strong ally of JA ever since. Steve is a JA classroom volunteer himself and has taught JA Economics in several high schools over the past several years. It was with Steve’s encouragement that LPS administrators participated in the JA Bowl-a-thon for the first time ever this year, filled up an entire alley with bowlers, and raised more than $10,000 for JA.
Volunteers of the Year
National Accounts Manager at National Research Corporation
Adam is also the JA Company Coordinator for NRC. Adam was nominated by Tiffany Reynolds of Kooser Elementary School, where he volunteered for the last five years.
Customer Service Support Manager at Black Hills Energy
Meredith began volunteering for Junior Achievement ten years ago and has volunteered in both Lincoln and Kansas City, Missouri. Meredith was nominated by first grade teacher Cheri Parent from Saratoga Elementary School.
Vice President of Pinnacle Bank
Denise has been teaching JA for more than 20 years, and was nominated by second grade teacher Cathy Swartz of Saint Patrick’s Catholic School.
Educators of the Year
kindergarten teacher at Maxey Elementary
Sibyl has been teaching for 36 years, and has had JA in her classroom for the last 20. She was nominated by her JA volunteer of three years, Tim Schlegelmilch of US Bank.
first grade teacher at Huntington Elementary School.
She was nominated by her JA volunteer, Rich Rogers, of Molex.
fifth grade teacher at St. John the Apostle Catholic School
Gina has been teaching for 21 years. She was nominated by her JA volunteer, Kevin Flores, from St. Elizabeth Regional Medical Center.
Company Coordinator of the Year
Enrichment Director with Legacy Retirement Communities
With Tracy’s efforts, Legacy Retirement Communities has increased their involvement in JA from four JA classrooms last year to recruiting classroom volunteers for 24 classrooms this year. Legacy also started a new initiative this year, partnering their staff and residents to teach JA classes together. In all, they impacted more than 500 Lincoln area elementary school students.
Junior Achievement Apple Society
The Apple Society is our newest way of making sure that our volunteers know just how much we appreciate all that they do. At this year’s luncheon, we were happy to announce our first-ever group of inductees!
The 90 Red Apple inductees received a red apple lapel pin for teaching at least six classrooms and reaching 150 students, since 2010.
The 14 Silver Apple inductees received a surprise visit from JA staff in their offices this spring, bringing them a certificate and a giant cookie to celebrate that they taught at least 12 classrooms, reaching 300 students, since 2010.
Inaugural Gold Apple Society Inductee
We had one Gold Apple volunteer, meaning that this exceptional volunteer has taught at least 20 classrooms, reaching more than 500 students, since 2010. That one generous person is Mike Boland, Chief Procurement Officer with SourceOne, Inc. Mike has served on the JA board of directors since 2009 and is the JA company coordinator for SourceOne, Inc. He has fostered partnerships with the educators he has worked with at Blessed Sacrament, Clinton, and Roper Schools, and is a highly-requested volunteer each year. Mike has taught a total of 22 classrooms since the 2010-2011 school year.
Although we say “thank you” a lot, we can never say it enough. To each and every one of the thousands of local volunteers, educators, company coordinators, and supporters who support JA and impact our students every day, thank you. Thank you for caring about our students and our community, and for helping us to build a brighter future!