For a day, Elizabethtown Area Middle School traded in algebra, history, and life science for branding, logos, tag lines, slogans, and credit scores as part of Junior Achievement’s YES! program. YES! stands for Your Economic Success. The school-wide initiative aligned with the district’s Pathways program.
The YES! curriculum consisted of a series of activities intended to help the students gain an appreciation for the importance that financial and career decisions will play in their lives as young adults. Students rotated through six 40-minute stations manned by community volunteers. The main emphasis of the career component was discovering the connection between personal interests and strengths, opportunity, and education. The students explored career clusters like finance, health science, hospitality and tourism, architecture and construction, and information technology and the plethora of jobs associated within each cluster. The students also researched the importance of each cluster to the world of work and leisure.
The students also learned about career mapping and how to take advantage of developing a personal brand, work ethic, and professionalism and their impact on career success and promotion.
As part of the personal finance instruction, the students learned how to establish personal financial goals, the advantages and disadvantages of using debt and credit cards, and the consequences of a positive or negative credit report.
At the end of the day, the students gathered in the auditorium for Junior Achievement’s own version of the classic game show “Let’s Make a Deal” to receive prizes. The students competed against one another to answer questions about what they had learned during the day.