My 3rd Grade JA Nerves Turned to JA Joy

I usually get a bit nervous right before a big presentation at work.  Little did I know I would have the same nervous feeling getting up in front of an elementary school class!  For business presentations, you get ready for it by reviewing your materials and preparing answers to questions that you know will probably be asked.  However, it is much different preparing for an audience of 3rd graders… anything could happen!

Volunteering for Junior Achievement (JA) really challenged me to step out of my comfort zone.  Are they listening?  Will they understand me?  Will I make a positive impact in their lives?  These were thoughts that went through my head when I entered the classroom.  All eyes were on me.  I took a deep breath and said “Good morning, everyone!”  My nerves were immediately calmed when I received a loud chorus of “GOOD MORNING!” greetings from the students.  I could tell they were excited to hear what I had to say… excited to learn.

We spent the entire day without a dull moment.  JA puts together a great curriculum to teach young students basic concepts of generating and managing wealth, contributing to the community, and applying entrepreneurial thinking into the workplace.  I was thrilled to see the creativity and discussion the students were engaging in.  They exhibited a great amount of teamwork and it was heartwarming to watch them make decisions and solve problems together. 

My JA experience was definitely a positive one.  It brought me joy seeing a sense of accomplishment and pride in these students.  It was very inspiring to know that my engagement got them very excited about learning and that I have provided a positive impact on their perspective of what’s to come in the future. 

For more information on how you can get involved with Junior Achievement, please visit

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About the author


Amy Mai is a Logistics Analyst at Celanese. She has co-taught twice with Junior Achievement and looks forward to many more. Amy enjoys running, cooking, and trying out new restaurants.

There are 5 comments. Add yours.

  1. Robi says:

    My experience with JA was equally as rewarding! It was a special treat for me because I graduated from M.C. Lively Elementary School when it was still Plymouth Park Elementary many, many years ago. It was wonderful to see the changes that have been made to help the school to grow in educating the kids from the surrounding neighborhood. But what was most interesting was seeing the faces of the many students from different backgrounds, religions and races. So much has changed – and for the better! The kids were surprised when I told them that I too had gone to school there and told them about all the positive changes that i observed. And JA was wonderful in their support of our efforts. The kids loved the materials, games and presentations. And their teacher really appreciated the materials that we left behind to help the STEM programs. Thanks so much for the opportunity to share JA and Celanese with these future scientists, mathematicians, technical wizards, and inventors!

  2. Linda Schoelkopf says:

    Amy and Robi,
    Thank you so much for all you”re doing for our kids! Junior Achievement appreciates the commitment you”ve made, and the difference you continue to make in the lives of young people!

  3. Margie Dolch says:

    It looks like you applied a valuable principle in to your teaching skills – silliness! Nice photo and thanks for volunteering.

  4. Dana Smith says:

    Pete, thanks for your comment. Celanese sites can select their volunteer activities depending on the interests of their region. The employees in Dallas really enjoy participating in the “JA in a Day” program and has been really successful over the last 2 years.

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