The day featured five sessions taught in 17 classrooms, staffed for the first time by Junior Achievement board members.
“We’ve got a really good active board, they’re involved,” said Pamela Camp, vice president of education for Junior Achievement of East Texas.
Sessions focused on zoning and planning, entrepreneurship, running a restaurant and the importance of a city newspaper.
“Our curriculum enhances what they’re already learning, makes it more real to life. It ties into why school is important to your work, and (how) you’ll be successful if you stay in school,” Camp said.
The event has evolved during its 31-year history from a 5-week program into an all-in-one-day format.
Lynne Henderson, Junior Achievement of East Texas president, said this was the first time the single-day event has been held at the intermediate school.
“Its getting harder and harder to get into the schools because of all the things they have to teach, but everything that is in this program are things they are learning,” she said.
Pine Tree ISD Superintendent Dr. T.J. Farler spent the day teaching Dana Sims’ students, with a lesson plan that included a peek at blueprints for the new Pine Tree stadium.
“We’ve been talking about work readiness, talking about this long word ‘entrepreneur,’ and we’ve been talking about financial literacy,” she said, before turning to the students.
“We’ve been combining all those, and what’s the other word we’ve been talking about? We all want to be really good ...?” Farler asked students.
“Learners,” students replied in unison.
In one activity the children designed buildings from blueprints, then glued them onto a city map. Rosie’s Townhomes, Grayson’s Cupcake Bakery and The Good News Newspaper Stand and others were carefully placed within the correct color-coded zone.
Xavier Martinez, 9, designed a new school that included a soccer field. Jack James, 9, designed a pet-friendly reading area.
Teaching materials are paid for through JA fundraisers held throughout the year. More “JA in a Day” events are planned this month at J. L. Everhart Elementary, South Ward Elementary and Ned E. Williams Elementary in Longview.