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JA Alumni: Brian Jackson


Brian Jackson and his family in JA BizTown

Image caption: Brian, his wife Barbie, and his daughter Bella in JA BizTown

“Education will give you options.” Brian says it so often, it has become his motto. That wasn’t always the case.

“I didn’t come from an educationally supportive family.” Brian states that his parents never pushed him to succeed or encouraged him to do more, they were merely trying to survive in the world in which they lived. He lost his ambition within those important developmental years. Attending college after high school was out of the question. Graduating high school was almost out of reach. He was simply going through the motions, accepting the cards he was dealt.

Brian attended Charles Page High School in Sand Springs, Oklahoma. In his economics class, Junior Achievement volunteer and mentor, Marcus Lemon, taught the JA Company Program where students work in groups to create mock companies. Throughout the process of building their own company, students collaborate, make crucial business decisions, communicate with multiple stakeholders, and develop entrepreneurial skills. “It was my first taste of what business could be. I saw the people side of business, not just the numbers.”

Although he doesn’t remember everything from the curriculum, he remembers Mr. Lemon stopping the class to let them know that “Education will give you options.” Brian says that it struck a deep chord. “It woke me up.” That exchange gave him the inspiration he needed to control his own life and write his own story.

Brian graduated from Charles Page High School and became the first in his family to attend college. He got his degree in Business Administration and now works at Junior Achievement of Oklahoma as a Development Manager. “My life came full circle. I now work for the organization that inspired me to continue,” Brian reflected. He believes that the heart of Junior Achievement are the volunteers, that they make the curriculum “come to life.”

Brian works daily to give back, inspire others to greatness, and to write their own story. “I remember Mr. Lemon telling us to do for ourselves but also think of others,” Brian states. “I try to do that every day at Junior Achievement. I think of all these kids who are being positively impacted through our programs and volunteers just like I was.”

Junior Achievement of Oklahoma are thankful to have changemakers just like Brian empowering the young people of Oklahoma to own their future economic success.

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