Springfield freshmen learn life skills and finance through Junior Achievement

Some lessons you just can't learn in the classroom.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Students at Springfield’s Putnam Technical Vocational Academy learn more than what’s taught in the classroom: They learn trades like Allied Health. On Wednesday morning, they joined freshmen from Central High School and the High School of Science and Technology to learn life skills through Junior Achievement.

“We’re basically teaching about budgeting, the importance of staying in school, the value of saving some money, how far your money really can go, these are great skills and the college students can provide some real world experience about limited budgets,” said Amanda Garcia, the director for the Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership at Elms College and a coordinator for the JA day.

Junior Achievement (JA) helps educate about 10 million people worldwide about life skills, but it actually all started in Springfield in 1919.

Freshmen explored their strengths. “I love sports, and I love doing math. I’m actually good at it. And then I want to go to college so I can get a good career,” said Mariehoshka Acosta, a Putnam freshman. The students also realized they shouldn’t make life decisions with just a roll of the dice.

“One side is career, the other side is education, and we start out with which one we want to do right after high school,” Marwo Ali, a Putnam freshman, told 22News as she played the JA boardgame.

This year, 50 students from Elms College and 40 students from Bay Path University shared their own experiences with students.

“Having a program like this would have probably helped me because I ended up changing my major twice, so it really gives you something to think about,” said Amy Martin, a student at Elms College and mentor for Junior Achievement Day.

“I feel like teaching it is helping me to understand it, too,” said Olivia Foley, a student at Bay Path University and a mentor.

Seventy-five volunteers from Santander Bank, and business representatives from MassMutual, Wolf & Co., TD Bank and Toce Brothers, Inc. also spoke to the students to make it the biggest Junior Achievement day in the Commonwealth.