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NEWS STORY

Pratt & Whitney Volunteers Participate in 'JA in a Day' at Norris Elementary School

By Barbara Bresnahan | Correspondent
Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Junior Achievement's "JA in a Day" is a fun and effective way for children in grades Kindergarten through 6 to experience valuable lessons about business and economics in an exciting one-day event.

On Nov. 15, JA in a Day was brought to the Anna E. Norris Elementary School in East Hartford, Conn., by Jill Albertelli, vice president of Procurement at Pratt & Whitney. Albertelli is also the event's executive sponsor and a Junior Achievement board member. Along with Albertelli were approximately 30 employees from Pratt & Whitney, Sikorsky and other UTC companies, all there to volunteer their time conducting lessons and leading age-appropriate activities in the various classrooms.

Like all Junior Achievement programs, these business volunteers help educate and inspire youth about the connection between education and success in the workplace. JA in a Day is unique, however, as the entire elementary school program is covered in the course of one school day, and students earn their Junior Achievement certificate by day's end.

On this particular Friday, students learned about various aspects of financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Kindergarten students learned about helping, working, earning and saving money in their "JA Ourselves" segment, while first graders learned the difference between "needs" and "wants" and participated in activities about jobs, tools and skills in the "JA Our Families" program. Second-, third-, fourth- and fifth-grade student themes were "JA Our Community," "JA Our City," "JA Our Region" and "JA Our Nation," each bringing the real world to students through hands-on curriculum.

Volunteers Sasha Vagodnaya and Roz Amirfazli were assigned a second-grade classroom and spent the day helping students explore the interdependent roles of workers in a community. Using a doughnut shop as example, students learned about workers and the work they perform, why workers are paid, what taxes are, and how and where to save money. The pair even staged a faux robbery of the Sweet "O" Donut shop to illustrate how the police work within the community.

In Linda Necci's third-grade class, volunteers Chad Munroe and Joshua Harris had an "Our City" landscape poster on display, which depicted the elements of a typical city block. Students busied themselves creating three-dimensional cardboard buildings, then placed them on the map according to zoning regulations. With a focus on multipurpose, residential, agricultural, business and industrial zones, students became aware of what a community consists of, the role of a city planner and the importance of civic planning and economic development.

Each of the programs that took place in the classrooms were presented in a series of five 35-minute activities, which included program kits and activity materials.

"I'm proud so many people from Pratt & Whitney came out to support Junior Achievement," said Albertelli after the event. "I'm a long-time supporter of JA, and it has been incredible over the years to see how one day can inspire a child to find the entrepreneur inside themselves."

For more information about Junior Achievement of Southwest New England, visit them online at www.jaconn.net.

Photo Credit

Barbara Bresnahan

Photo Captions

Photo 1: Fourth-grade students at Norris Elementary School learned about entrepreneurship and how entrepreneurs use resources to produce goods and services during a "JA Our Region" program, presented by Bethany Keenan and Christhian Bedon of Sikorsky's ITL Program.

Photo 2: Pratt & Whitney's Roz Amirfazli helps second-grade students in one of the five volunteer-led activities in her classroom during the Nov. 15 "JA in a Day."

Photo 3: Chad Munroe from Pratt & Whitney oversees a third-grade classroom, as students place buildings in their proper building zones on a map.

Photo 4: Gabrielle White of UTC Aerospace Systems volunteered in Kindergarten classroom at Norris Elementary School during "JA in a Day" on Nov. 15, 2013. White said that children in her class learned about themselves, farm animals, money and about planting a garden.

Photo 5: Dean Richards helped fifth-grade students understand that businesses need workers with in-demand skills, such as science, technology, engineering and math. The "JA Our Nation" segment was part of "JA in a Day," which was sponsored by Pratt & Whitney.