Canyon Vista students embrace entrepreneurial spirit through Junior Achievement

jaBusiness students at Canyon Vista Middle School are getting first-hand experience with entrepreneurship through the Junior Achievement (JA) program, which challenged teams of students to create and market innovative products.

The six-week JA It’s My Business! Blended Model program incorporated adult volunteers to teach students the process to create a marketable product. The six session topics consisted of entrepreneurs, market and need, innovative ideas, market research, design and prototype and seeking funding.

“Junior Achievement shows our students that they can become entrepreneurs and that owning a business is attainable as a teenager,” said Jennifer Arcaya, Canyon Vista business information management (BIM) teacher. “They’re so engaged and excited. To see that process at such a young age is neat to watch.”

Each student group identified problems and developed solutions through material products. Through the process, students were critiqued on public speaking, execution of the prototype and presentations before the final presentation Dec. 1.

“This program has really helped students learn about themselves and grow as they look to the future and figure out what they want to do,” said JA Volunteer Thomas Denning. “Junior Achievement acts as a catalyst to help them in their regular classes as well. Students are engaged and motivated to do better overall.”

Nivhi Hedge, Canyon Vista eighth-grade student, developed a diabetic watch with her group that utilized a laser to check insulin and glucose levels in blood. The non-invasive method is an alternative to the traditional pin-prick that diabetic patients currently use to measure blood levels. The Junior Achievement program sparked Nivhi’s creativity while also bolstering her confidence in public speaking, she said.

“I used to not like talking in front of people,” Nivhi said. “With this program, I learned how to talk in front of a crowd and convey my ideas properly.”