"I’m immensely proud of the bank’s partnership with Junior Achievement of Maine. Our goal for LaunchPad Junior is provide a truly unique classroom experience and bring the curriculum to life for middle school students. We hope the LaunchPad Junior program inspires some of these students to become entrepreneurs themselves someday and maybe even compete in our LaunchPad program as adults."
An innovative opportunity for Maine’s middle schoolers
Thanks to Gorham Savings Bank’s partnership with Junior Achievement, middle schoolers in Maine now have the chance to participate in LaunchPad through the JA – It’s My Business! program. The process was designed to encourage independent, creative and critical thinking while emphasizing teamwork and engendering self-confidence in all participating students.
Critical and creative thinking throughout the process
The process begins with students working together in groups to brainstorm ideas for a community Teen Club. At the end of the working sessions, each class votes on their favorite idea, and once it is chosen, the whole class works together to contribute to the winning idea. Throughout the process, the students apply concepts they learn in a wide range of previous lessons. Each class then elects a group of three or four students to represent both their idea and their middle school at the 2017 LaunchPad event in front of a live audience of hundreds of Maine entrepreneurs and businesspeople.
Live at the 2017 LaunchPad event
Volunteers from Gorham Savings Bank work with each class to teach the LaunchPad Junior lessons. During the lessons, volunteers work with the students as they conceive and work together to refine ideas—a process that ultimately produces the “pitch videos” that will be played during the live 2017 LaunchPad event. At the event, each of the elected student groups will be invited on stage to answer questions about what they learned. The Junior Achievement and Gorham Savings Bank teams hope this year’s inaugural LaunchPad Junior event will become the blueprint to expand the program to include more middle schools in the future.