MTSU Junior achievement

MTSU alumna, trustee and Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee board member Pam Wright, right, chats with fellow MTSU Trustee and Vice Chairman Darrell Freeman Sr. Tuesday, Jan. 14, at the grand opening of the new JA Finance Park on Powell Place in Nashville, Tenn. The new park provides a real-world simulation for students to learn how their financial decisions regarding higher education, health care and other areas affect their personal budgets. Wright, a longtime JA supporter, funded an MTSU-branded room in the park that features popular university programs. (MTSU photo by James Cessna)

Middle Tennessee State University now has a noticeable presence inside the Junior Achievement of Middle Tennessee’s newest contribution to teaching Middle Tennessee secondary school students about financial literacy.

Junior Achievement, a volunteer-driven organization that provides programs focused on work-readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy skills, hosted a grand opening last week in Nashville of the JA Finance Park. The program that will serve seventh- through 12th-grade students across Middle Tennessee and is the organization’s first such venture in the state.

Located inside Junior Achievement’s facility, the roughly 8,000-square-foot park incorporates hands-on classroom activities along with a real-world simulation, providing students with a solid foundation for making intelligent personal finance decisions.

MTSU represents the higher education portion of the finance park simulation in the form of an MTSU-branded room funded by longtime JA board member Pam Wright, an MTSU alumna, Board of Trustee member and founder of Wright Travel. 

Students in the program will use the room to assess the costs of higher education and how it affects their personal budgets and financial situation.

“I believe it’s an incredible opportunity to reach kids at a very young age and to show them what the business world is about, and of course the financial literacy piece is extremely important,” Wright said. 

Central Magnet School sixth-grader Kyle Carter was among several JA students who helped to emcee the grand opening program, giving testimonials about how their involvement with JA has enhanced their educations and helping with tours of the facility afterward.

“You can learn about money, and it’s not that hard to know about money. Before I was at JA, I spent my money on things I hadn’t saved up for and that I didn’t know much about,” he said. “With JA, it taught me to research and save for things and not just spend my money on random things.”

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