LEWISTOWN - Rick Cahill, of GE Inspection Technologies, and The First National Bank of Mifflintown were honored Friday by Junior Achievement of Central Pennsylvania Inc., at its recognition breakfast at the Lewistown Country Club in Lewistown.
Dr. Linda Mohler, Juniata Valley Board member, welcomed guests and explained that the purpose of the recognition breakfast is to identify this year's award winners and to thank Junior Achievement volunteers.
Today, Mohler said, "the best of the best" are being honored by the organization.
Sentinel photo by SAM BAUMGARDNER
Junior Achievement Award winners are from left, Chris Meals, representing the First National Bank of Mifflintown, company of the year; Rick Cahill, volunteer of the year; JACP District Manager, June Harr; and John Breneman Jr., representing Sen. Jake Corman’s office.
Marcie Barber, of the Juniata Valley Bank, introduced Cahill, the 2009 volunteer of the year.
"Volunteers really truly are the heart of the Junior Achievement program," she said.
Teachers have an impact on children's lives, she said, and Junior Achievement gives people in the business world the opportunity to participate in that.
Cahill has been involved in the classroom through the Junior Achievement program for about five years, Barber said. He also is a volunteer with youth sports and the Boy Scouts of America, she said.
Cahill said he thanks GE Inspection Technologies for supporting the Junior Achievement program and for allowing him to have the time to teach in classrooms.
"I don't do any of this for recognition," he said. "My satisfaction comes from watching kids grow."
Cahill said if he can affect one child, that's the reason he volunteers.
He said those that volunteer in the classroom should make it fun.
"I do some things that are special for the kids," he said.
He said it's important to use imagination and get to the kids' level when teaching.
"We don't want to look like big monsters," he said.
John Breneman Jr., executive assistant at Sen. Jake Corman's office, R-Bellefonte, read a House citation to present the award to Cahill.
Nancy Aurand, third grade teacher at Lewistown Elementary School, said Cahill "has brought life to some things in our curriculum that were just words on a page before."
She said students he has taught get excited when they see him in public.
"He really does make an impact on them," she said.
Aurand said Cahill has been reliable in the sense that when he says he's going to be somewhere, he always is.
He has implemented such lessons in the classroom as Bob the Builder activities and a "wonderful" newspaper, Aurand said.
The programs Cahill does fall within the third grade curriculum, Aurand added.
"They do get the connection," she said about the students.
Aurand said the class couldn't have asked for a better volunteer than Cahill.
"This was richly deserved for Mr. Cahill," she said.
Barber then introduced the First National Bank of Mifflintown as the company of the year.
The bank, Barber said, has given $10,000 many years to Junior Achievement.
"It gives a long way towards providing programming," she said, adding that the bank has supported classes in the more rural areas of Juniata County, which has been very beneficial.
Chris Meals, an employee at the First National Bank of Mifflintown, accepted the recognition on behalf of the bank.
He said he taught his first class this year, through the Junior Achievement program, and he recommends it.
"It is a great experience," he said.
Meals was presented with an award by Breneman, who once again read a House statement acknowledging the distinction.
June Harr, district manager at Junior Achievement of Central Pennsylvania, said there are many ways people can help the program, such as volunteering.
It's easy to volunteer, she said, because JA provides kits to teach, and all materials are hands-on.
"Everybody that's done it ... they want to do it again," she said.
She added that JA uses businesses to connect with schools.
Harr said programs in Mifflin and Juniata counties are in jeopardy because of the current economic situation, and JA appreciates the support to keep programs going.
These programs, she said, are important to both students and teachers.
"It's valuable, valuable lessons for young people," she said about the JA program.
Students should know how to handle money for the future, she said, and to learn about check cards and credit cards, which the program focuses on.
"Children need this type of education," she said.
According to a brochure by Junior Achievement of Central Pennsylvania, "... JA bridges the gap between the classroom and the workplace for more than 4 million elementary, middle and high school students in the United States each year."
Junior Achievement teaches kids how business works. It collaborates with schools to recruit volunteer consultants to teach economics-oriented lessons, according to the brochure. For more information call 397-5779 or (888) 592-6517, or visit www.jacentralpa.org.