students holding their junior achievement certificates

Junior Achievement takes off in Tioga, Ray and Powers Lake

March 1, 2022

Tioga, ND, March 2, 2022 - The Bank of Tioga launched its fifth year facilitating Junior Achievement (JA) at three local elementary schools with over 38 classrooms of grades K-8. Schools involved include Central Elementary in Tioga, Ray Elementary, and Powers Lake Elementary.

This year, The Bank of Tioga has eight employees and several community members who volunteer their time to teach five lessons in their assigned classroom. The program began in January and will run through April.

Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to educating students in grades K-12 about entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. JA inspires and prepares young people to succeed in a global economy and learn about their community, jobs and entrepreneurship. JA reaches students with fun, hands-on programs that teach students financial literacy and equip them with the knowledge and skills to make better life choices. All programs align with national and local curriculum standards; therefore, educators fully enjoy the opportunity to involve their students.

junior achievement students playing a game on a rug

Recruitment of professionals to teach in the classroom is an easy sell, since JA is set up for the volunteer to succeed,” said Joy Sparks, The Bank of Tioga financial literacy coordinator. “It is a well thought out, with easy to follow lesson plans. I learn something new every year.”

Students and teachers alike love Junior Achievement. The lessons are interactive for the students, and the teachers like that the curriculum touches on the core principles for each grade.

“We appreciate and value the partnership with the bank. We are grateful for your commitment to children in the communities they serve through your support of Junior Achievement to make a difference in students’ bright futures,” said Roxanne Mulvey, Junior Achievement of the Midlands, Inc. senior educational services manager. “Outside of JA, most young people may not consider the concepts of money management, careers and business ownership until they are out of school.”

junior achievement being taught in a classroom

Students are encouraged to think practically about starting a business with entrepreneurial thinking to meet the requirements of a demanding and ever-changing workforce. The students learn new vocabulary words, engage in hands on activities and games and discuss local businesses and entrepreneurs.

The program allows community members to be involved in financial literacy instruction and gives teachers an opportunity to take advantage of third-party resources to offer different perspectives to their students.

Kaitlyn Weszner, a bank employee volunteer in a second grade class, commented on the hugs from her students, “I didn’t know I needed them; they are wonderful.”

Sparks concluded, “I believe the value of Junior Achievement goes way beyond lessons. It is an opportunity for business professionals to become involved in the school and opens the doors for mentoring to begin. It allows young people to get glimpse into careers and professions and an opportunity for deeper interactions with children.” 

To learn more about Junior Achievement, contact Joy Sparks, financial literacy coordinator at The Bank of Tioga at or 701-664-3388.

About The Bank of Tioga: At The Bank of Tioga, we IGNITE PROSPERITY® by helping our clients do more with their money. Whether it’s saving a little extra cash each month or accomplishing a long-term strategy, our goal is to help you transform your financial life. The Bank of Tioga was chartered in 1951 and was acquired by TS Contrarian Bancshares Inc., an affiliate of TS Banking Group in 2014. With $350 million in assets, The Bank of Tioga is committed to supporting local organizations and reinvests a portion of its net income back to the community. Branch locations include Tioga and Crosby, North Dakota. For more information visit