2 South Florida Junior Achievement teams chosen for national competition

The student "companies" will be assessed on several factors including financial performance, professional development and a live presentation.

COCONUT CREEK, Fla. – More than 100 years ago, a program that now reaches nearly five million students a year in the United States was formed.

Junior Achievement became the source of a variety of in-school programs and helps middle and high school students gain real-world experience through JA-World.

Lexie Sealy was in grade school when she first paid a visit to the unique business model in Coconut Creek.

“We’re each able to choose a job we wanted to so people were able to work at Local10 News, Chick-fil-A, NSU University, so everyone had a lot of opportunities choose what they wanted to do and to explore different areas of business and real life,” Sealy said.

Now the experience has come full circle as she leads her team from Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland to a national competition for their business concept called “Smile Senders.”

“What we did was we created care packages that could be sent anywhere because we saw how coronavirus affected people how down and depressed they were and we wanted to lift people up and bring smiles to people,” Sealy said.

And a second local team, led by Kennedy Clark from NSU University School in Davie, is also going to the national competition for their creation “Clipped Notes.”

“Clipped Notes is a clip-on whiteboard attachment for laptops that seamlessly slides onto the side of the pad which allows individuals to seamlessly write notes as reminders, quick calculations and motivational messages,” Clark said.

The student companies will be assessed on several factors including financial performance, professional development and a live presentation.

“Every single program JA has done and will continue to do will be experiential, interactive. Bringing together academics and knowledge around financial literacy, entrepreneurship and work readiness, bringing that together with the application,” said Laurie Sallarulo, President and CEO of Junior Achievement of South Florida.

Both Clark and Sealy are excited to use their JA experience to help meet their real-world goals and dreams.

“I was able to develop a leadership style where I could not only rely on myself but also make executive decisions that helped us with our business endeavors,” Clark said.

The Junior Achievement National Summit takes place virtually Tuesday through Thursday, when this year’s winners will be announced.

About the Authors:

Jenise Fernandez joined the Local 10 News team in November 2014. She is thrilled to be back home reporting for the station she grew up watching. Jenise, who is from Miami and graduated from Florida International University, also interned at Local 10 while she was in college.

Veteran journalist Kathleen Corso is the special projects producer for Local 10 News.