Junior Achievement of Arizona Announces 2021 JA Heroes

Junior Achievement of Arizona has announced the winners of the 2021 JA Heroes awards. These awards honor those working in the local community to change the lives of the kids they work with. The winners were honored at a reception on Dec. 14 at the Savoy Opera House.  

“Our volunteers and community partners work tirelessly to equip future generations with the skills and knowledge to pursue their dreams successfully,“ said Anne Landers, VP of strategic impact at Junior Achievement. “They are heroes who have gone above and beyond to support financial and career growth among the children and young adults involved in Tucson’s Junior Achievement programs.”

The 2021 JA Heroes:

  • Teacher of the Year: Gail Smith, Los Ninos Elementary – Smith provided outstanding commitment to the Junior Achievement Day partnership and supported her Junior Achievement classroom volunteer before, during, and after the program to ensure her students were engaged and understood what they were learning.
  • Education Partner of the Year: San Miguel High School – San Miguel High School partners with Junior Achievement to offer life-changing programs to every student at their school, increasing financial literacy and career readiness education among Tucson’s young adults. The high school also runs a corporate work study program, with grant funding from Microsoft, that allows two student interns to work in the Junior Achievement office one day a week each.
  • Community Partner of the Year: Bank of the West – Bank of the West is an outstanding organization whose commitment to the Junior Achievement mission is demonstrated by their investment of time, treasure and talent by encouraging employee volunteerism and granting funding to increase access to programming among students. 
  • Volunteer of the Year: Travis Duran – Duran has shown incredible commitment to the Junior Achievement mission and the kids the organization serves. In the past year, he has volunteered his time to teach 3rd graders about earning and spending, 6th graders about how to choose a career, and 8th graders about how to create a budget. He has also been a driving force in increasing volunteerism among his colleagues. 
  • Golden Apple: Jodi Bransky and Jason Robinson – Bransky and Robinson have volunteered for 10 or more years for Junior Achievement, either in the classroom, at special events, or on the Board of Directors. They have brought Junior Achievement to more than 1,000 students combined during their service.

These community heroes were announced during the 2021 JA Heroes event on Dec. 14. Donors, partners and members of the community were invited to meet students participating in Junior Achievement and hear stories about the impact the organization has had on young lives. Professionals, educators and influencers in the community were also in attendance, providing networking opportunities for young adults and professionals alike.

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