Junior Achievement Fills In The Gaps That The Traditional Classroom Leaves Behind
By Drew Limsky
South Florida Business & Wealth, May 2021 Edition
“I am a social person,” says high school senior Huguette St Hubert, with her characteristic directness. She recalls feeling “emotionally drained” when the COVID-19 pandemic hit and it became clear to her that her social network, other than her family, was threatening to dry up along with the educational camaraderie she so prizes.
Born in Haiti and now 18, St Hubert emigrated to the United States at 13 to live with her father—and for the educational opportunities—in Fort Lauderdale. She graduated Lauderdale Lakes Middle School without a hitch, but it’s safe to say that St Hubert’s senior year at Fort Lauderdale’s Stranahan High School required some adjustments. Ironically, the most “normal” thing about the last year has revolved around what is arguably the most stressful aspect of a typical senior year: the age old question of which college to choose. (She has narrowed it down to FAU and NSU).
But for St Hubert, Junior Achievement of South Florida— which empowers students through work readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy—has proven to be a life raft, both before and during the pandemic. The physical facility—at least pre-COVID— was a hub of activity, a smart simulation of a central business district: “It gives students a glimpse into the business world,” explains Keith Koenig, a longtime sponsor of Junior Achievement and the owner and CEO of City Furniture (his son Andrew serves as president). “There are about 20 different businesses that are $50,000-per-year sponsors, and that’s important foundation funding. We each have a physical presence, a storefront, so students can roleplay as bankers—or working for a furniture company.”