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May 8, 2015

Suraci teaches Guilderland kids financial literacy and ethics

Junior Achievement of Northeastern New York, with support from volunteers throughout Guilderland, New Scotland, Voorheesville, and the Hilltowns, is making a bigger impact than ever — and as the school year wraps up, the skills taught are being realized by the dozens of area students benefitting from such a program.

JA has for over a century prepared young students for the “real” financial world by imparting entrepreneurial skills, concepts of economics, and personal financial planning. Starting in classrooms as early as kindergarten, volunteers from Albany County local businesses paired with a teacher from the school, teach students the base they need for understanding finances.

Junior Achievement Volunteer Tony Suraci of Guilderland has served on the JA board for almost 25 years and participated in his own children’s classes from kindergarten through sixth grade. Suraci was teaching three classes at once at Pine Bush Elementary School at one point of his volunteer career.

Although Suraci’s children have graduated, he has continued to return year after year to the Pine Bush Elementary School and teaches the students the importance of STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) skills, financial literacy, ethics, and entrepreneurship.

With his experience in volunteering, Suraci further extends the curriculum to include local area businesses to interact with the students, showing the link between the classroom and the business environment. This allows the children to have out-of-the-classroom involvement with businesses.

The Pine Bush Elementary School students love the programs provided by JA, writing lovely thank-you notes to Suraci at the end of every program. Suraci finds it rewarding to see the lightbulb turn on in the children’s minds.

To encourage the students to finish the program strong, Suraci throws a party for the kids once the program is complete — where local businesses provide pizza; coupons for free ice cream; and, most importantly, Suraci presents the kids with a certificate of completion of the Junior Achievement program.

Tony Suraci was not only a past chairman of Junior Achievement board, but he currently serves on its executive board along with volunteering at Pine Bush Elementary School. Throughout the years, in his collaboration with the school and Junior Achievement, he stresses the importance of the students’ furthering their education.

The Junior Achievement program runs through high school, further building the students’ knowledge to better understand concepts often not taught by parents or school districts. The program focuses on teaching the students through local volunteers to ensure they are learning current information that is truly applicable.

Schools taking part in Junior Achievement, such as the Pine Bush Elementary School, are able to provide this opportunity to students through the everyday classroom, where they are given specific dates throughout the school year. The curriculum for Junior Achievement is reviewed and updated every three years to guarantee the students are given the most current information pertaining to the work place.

Barbara Narciso, media counselor

Junior Achievement of Northeastern NY


As of July 1, 2011, Junior Achievement of Northeastern New York has become 1 of 118 area operations of Junior Achievement USA