Junior Achievement in OCPS
Posted on 05/15/2023
Mondays with Maria Banner



Dr. Maria Vazquez: Hi everyone. I'm Maria Vazquez, Superintendent of Orange County Public Schools. I have a special guest with me, Karen Revels, the President and CEO of Junior Achievement of Central Florida. Karen, thank you so much for joining me today.

Karen Revels: Thank you for having me.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: When it comes to our students, we have similar goals. We want our children to be prepared and be able to go out into the workforce and be successful. Our partnership with Junior Achievement spans a long time, and many of our community may not even know about Junior Achievement. So would you first tell us what Junior Achievement is and some of the programs that you have in our schools?

Karen Revels: Absolutely. We've been in this community for over 60 years. Wow. and all of that time, our primary mission has been to serve the students of Orange County Public Schools. We do that with a mission in mind, and that is to inspire our young people to own their economic success. And we do that in a lot of different ways through financial literacy training, through career explorations, so kids can understand the vast things that they can do, and through entrepreneurship and teaching them about owning their own businesses.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: I know junior Achievement is such a wonderful partnership that impacts so many of our schools, and I've been in some of those classrooms at the high schools, and I hear from them how much Junior Achievement has helped them realize opportunities that they didn't know existed. And so tell us, what are some of the things that you hear about Junior Achievement and the impact it's had on our kids?

Karen Revels: Well, what I really love about JA is that we come alongside the schools. The schools are already doing amazing work, and we're enhancing that. We're bringing that extra level of the volunteer. I ran into a high school friend, I'm an OCPS alumni from kindergarten through high school.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: And parent,

Karen Revels: Yes. And parent two time parent of OCPS students. And I ran into a friend from high school who had become a top shoe. She created her own shoe company. Wow. Like very, very high end shoes. She told me when I told her I was from, I was at Junior Achievement. Now, she said that in sixth grade at Princeton Elementary, the volunteer that came in to teach business principles from Junior Achievement was the inspiration for her to go on and create this shoe company. Who would've guessed that in sixth grade when a volunteer is in the classroom, sharing about how to be an entrepreneur and how finances work and tying that to real world education, that that really does inspire someone and it changed the course of her life.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Yes. And for so many of our kids junior Achievement really is having such a positive impact, and I'm so excited that we have this partnership. So what's new? What are some of the new things going on with Junior Achievement?

Karen Revels: Something that we're really excited that we are in the very early planning stages of is bringing a Discovery Center to Central Florida. And that's a, a center that will allow children to learn what it's like to be a CEO. It's educational based curriculum, but it culminates on site where kids get to actually wear the hat of CEO, consumer, business leader, and all of the companies work together. So it's a mini city for kids where kids get to really see what it's like to interact with other businesses and how decisions they make in one company really do affect others. And we're we're just tickled about what that's going to look like here in Orange County.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: Wonderful programs, great opportunities for our students. So someone's watching Mondays with Maria and they're saying, wow, I wanna get involved. What do they need to do?

Karen Revels: Please visit our website at and it's on your screen right now. We need volunteers that reflect our community. We need you and we need the business partners as well. So please join us.

Dr. Maria Vazquez: What a great way to support Junior Achievement and Orange County Public Schools. Karen, thank you so much for joining us. Thank you. And thank you all for watching. As promised, we'll continue to keep you updated on all the news and information you need to know right here. I'll see you next week.