Despite Social Distancing Constraints, Local Entrepreneurs Connect with Students

“JA offers tremendous value to the students at Gahanna Lincoln,” said Bryce Culver, an educator at Gahanna Lincoln High School. ”One of the biggest challenges teachers face is obtaining real world experiences for my students. Junior Achievement helps bridge the gap between the business community and classroom.”

Junior Achievement of Central Ohio has partnered with Gahanna Lincoln High School since 2016 to bring real-world experiences to students through JA Job Shadow and JA Company Program. When school buildings closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, JA quickly partnered with educators like Culver and local entrepreneurs to continue providing these experiences to students at home.

Culver helped organize a virtual JA Career Speaker Series for Gahanna Lincoln 9th-12th grade students. One speaker was local serial entrepreneur, Tricia Wheeler.

“I have been an entrepreneur my whole life. Beginning when I was 10 and selling fruit cups outside my father’s ice cream shop,” said Wheeler, who founded Edible Columbus food magazine, The Seasoned Farmhouse cooking school, and Flowers and Bread cafe.

At JA, we know there is not one right path for everyone, and that few paths are linear. That’s why our programs develop foundational skills and knowledge that students can take with them wherever they go.

“I encouraged them to look for problems in their everyday life that need solved or an industry or product that could be done better. I wanted the kids to focus on their mindset,” said Wheeler. “I encouraged them to think about their life, their time, their personality, [and] how they want to live.”

"The speaker series has allowed students to have a set time each week to tune in ... and hear from industry experts,” Culver said. “Students left each session with a better understanding of the career pathway.”

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