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Flashback to the 2010s


Image caption: Celebrating 50 years

2021 marks 50 years of Junior Achievement of Lincoln! As part of our year-long celebration, we’re looking back to see just how far we’ve come in the last half-century. Each month, we're focusing on a different decade to showcase stories of the people and organizations that have shaped Junior Achievement of Lincoln over the years.

This month we’re celebrating the 2010s, which saw huge growth for JA of Lincoln both in and out of the classroom. For a full rundown on JA through the decades, visit

By the 2010s JA of Lincoln was impacting 30,000+ students annually, with an army of more than 900 classroom volunteers taking our curriculum into schools all over Southeastern Nebraska. Thanks to an anonymous donor who challenged JA to grow the JA of Lincoln Foundation, the organization took a giant leap forward in long-term financial stability. By 2012, the Foundation had grown to $500,000.

In 2011, the District of Grand Island was established, remaining under the umbrella of JA but growing in impact and self-governance. Three years later the District of Kearney, also under the JA of Lincoln umbrella, began with three pilot programs. Soon each of the new districts were reaching upwards of 3,000 students annually. Meanwhile, JA of Lincoln continued reaching new communities, including Seward, Beatrice, Bennet, York, and Pleasanton. 

With classroom growth skyrocketing, JA of Lincoln also continued to establish innovative new events. The inaugural JA Stock Market Challenge took place in 2015, hosting 200 students. Six years later, the now-annual event hosts 550+ students from 30 high schools in a single day. 

The JA USA Board of Directors recognized all this growth and innovation with the prestigious JA USA Hook award in 2018.

Of course, the real success of JA of Lincoln is found in the students we impact. One of those students was Derrick Eels, who is now President of TenDot Travel. He says, “I fondly remember making pens as an elementary school student, being awarded a JA college scholarship for efforts during the high school evening program, and coming full circle by volunteering at various elementary schools over the last decade.” Derrick continues to believe in the JA mission, saying, “JA is one of the most important curricula needed for successful citizens of the future.” Seeing JA alumni being part of carrying the mission forward is such a powerful testament to the impact of JA programs, and we’re so grateful to Derrick for his continued support! You can read more about him here:

So many people and organizations that have been integral to JA of Lincoln growing and thriving for the last 50 years, and we can’t wait to introduce you to more of them over the coming months. Here’s to the next 50 years of building a better future, one classroom at a time!

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