, Muskogee, OK

Local News

May 10, 2014

JA volunteers spend day teaching

Kindergarten to fifth grade learn lessons on work, more

Kindergarten became a true garden of learning Friday at Irving and Creek elementary schools.

“I like salad, let me show you my salad,” Irving kindergartner Ryker Gronquist said as he showed off his picture. “Corn is my favorite vegetable.”

Under the guidance of Junior Achievement volunteers, kindergartners learned how they must work to grow the vegetables and pay for them.

More than 50 volunteers spent Friday teaching students in kindergarten through fifth grade about entrepreneurship, finance and work during JA in a Day.

“It’s all about the future of Muskogee and our youth, said Brian Jackson, development manager for Junior Achievement of Oklahoma. “It’s about training the next generation.”

Volunteers from OG&E taught the full-day lessons at Creek while volunteers at Irving came from Arvest Bank, Bank of Oklahoma, Best Buy, even Muskogee High School, he said.

MHS students taught Ryker’s class about the value of money, importance of education and how to make choices. Part of the lesson included deciding what things to buy.

“I like to eat tomatoes,” kindergartner Rylan Gray said.

Classmate Estrella Ontiveros said she wanted to buy strawberries and cats.

MHS sophomore Samantha Shafer said she volunteered because she thought “it would be fun to work with kids.”

Sophomore Kate Lester said MHS volunteers were given the JA lesson materials about two days ago.

“We worked on it before school and after school,” Shafer said, adding that spending the day with kindergartners taught her to be patient.

Lester said she learned to “see things from a kid’s perspective.”

“They require a lot of attention,” she said.

Jackson said MHS volunteers taught kindergartners and first-graders. Volunteers from area businesses taught older classes.

“They learn a lot that day,” Jackson said. “It’s important for them to get the perspective of what teachers see through the day.”

Junior Achievement relies on fundraisers for many of its projects. Jackson said the annual Safari Bowl tournament is its main fundraiser.

He said the most recent Safari Bowl, held April 3, raised enough money to enable JA “to help well over 12 classes.”

People also can help raise money for JA from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. May 16. Wendy’s restaurant, 331 S. 32nd St., will donate 10 percent of its net sales to Junior Achievement, he said.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or

If you go

WHAT: Wendy’s JA benefit.

WHEN: 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. May 16.

WHERE: Wendy’s, 331 S. 32nd St.

BENEFITS: 10 percent of all net sales during this time will benefit Junior Achievement.

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