Junior Achievement’s Volunteer of the Year shares life lessons in the classroom

Telling Alaska’s Story
Junior Achievement’s Volunteer of the Year Stasia Straley shares valuable life lessons in the classroom
Published: May. 15, 2023 at 6:53 PM AKDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - It was a life lesson kind of day for sixth graders at Ursa Minor Elementary School. Thanks to volunteers like Stasia Straley with Junior Achievement, she made learning about finances fun.

Straley’s background is in finance. She’s a professor of accounting at the University of Alaska Anchorage and for the last eight years, she’s been volunteering with Junior Achievement bringing life lessons to the classroom.

“Kids that participate in Junior Achievement, they are more likely to graduate high school, they’re less likely to have debt when they get older, they’re way more likely to be entrepreneurs,” Straley said.

The hands-on approach gets kids thinking — and helps them understand that money does not grow on trees.

“We ask them how much they need to retire sometimes and they’ll say, oh, to retire you need, you know, $2,000, like that is what your retirement goal will be and so telling them that, ‘Yeah, money is a little bit different than what you think it is,’ it’s always really fun,” Straley said.

Straley wants kids to go home and talk about what they learned in the classroom with their families.

“I know when I was growing up, our family didn’t talk a lot about money. And I think that’s kind of a common theme for a lot of families and I think the more we can talk about money, the better it will be for everybody, for Alaskans, and everybody, so that’s definitely a goal of mine,” she said.

On this particular day, it’s safe to say no one will be buying a house or car anytime soon — but that doesn’t mean they can’t start planning for it.