Junior Achievement of Georgia (JA) recently held its annual awards banquet, honoring volunteers and local business partners for their contributions in teaching financial literacy and workplace readiness skills to kindergarten through 12th-grade students.
Among the institutions honored was the former Gainesville State College – now the University of North Georgia – which received the Business Partnership of the Year award.
"The volunteers from the Gainesville and Oconee campuses are very deserving of this recognition for their work in teaching Junior Achievement classes at elementary, middle and high schools in school systems surrounding both campuses," UNG President Bonita C. Jacobs said. "In addition to this being an important outreach to our communities, these courses help prepare young people to become responsible citizens and leaders – a vital part of the university's mission."
The faculty and students of UNG’s Gainesville and Oconee campuses have made major contributions to JA programs, serving as volunteer teachers and participating in special projects. JA programs UNG helped implement include the annual College Pipeline Program, which brings high school juniors and seniors to a college campus to learn more about higher education, and the Reality Check Program, teaching middle and high school students how the career choices they make now can determine their financial position later.
Also honored at the banquet was Jennifer K. Bagwell, a graduate of UNG and a Gainesville native. Bagwell received the Volunteer of the Year award for her efforts in bringing JA education to Hall County schools. Bagwell has taught JA herself for the past five years. She also registered teachers and recruited volunteers—enough to bring JA to every classroom of Lula Elementary School, and to help secure a grant for JA from JacksonEMC.
At the banquet, Terri Powers, principal of Liberty Elementary School, was honored as JA’s Educator of the Year.
During the banquet, the Northeast Georgia Business Hall of Fame inducted three new laureates for their roles in the economic development of the region and the entire state. Among the laureates was Bob Swoszowski, a member of UNG’s Foundation Board of Trustees.
Swoszowski has been a business leader in northeast Georgia since the early 1970s when he became one of the youngest franchise owners of McDonald’s Restaurants. He now owns 11 restaurants and has twice served as president of the Greater Atlanta McDonald’s Operators Association. Swoszowski has also dedicated his life to community service, serving on the board of trustees for UNG and Brenau University, and actively supporting several non-profit organizations.
Also inducted at the banquet were Tommy Bagwell, owner of American Proteins, Inc. and Jan Cooley, CEO of Proview Foods.
Junior Achievement is a national organization that partners with schools to teach children workplace readiness, financial literacy, and entrepreneurship skills. Their mission is to grant children the skills necessary to succeed in a global economy through experiential, hands-on programs.