Junior Achievement

‘She has already hit the ground running’

Posted 12/21/17

Board members said they feel Junior Achievement of the Ocoee Region is in good hands with its new president, Jennifer Pennell-Aslinger, on board.A reception was held for her at the home of David and …

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Junior Achievement

‘She has already hit the ground running’


Board members said they feel Junior Achievement of the Ocoee Region is in good hands with its new president, Jennifer Pennell-Aslinger, on board.

A reception was held for her at the home of David and Margaret Schenk this week. Margaret Schenck is a member of the JA board of directors and a long-time Junior Achievement supporter.

“Jennifer is going to work out well. She has already hit the ground running, and she has a background with Junior Achievement, so we know she will lead us into 2018 very nicely,” said Schenck.

Other board members echoed Schenck’s comments.

“I see her with a passion to help children, and what better way to do it than to help them prepare to be successful adults,” said board Member Nancy Casson.

 Ken Jones, also a board member, said he is pleased with the selection of Pennell-Aslinger. Both he and his wife, Bobbie Edson-Jones, were among those at the reception.

In fact, a large number of board members attended, as did JA supporters and Junior Achievement staffers Melissa Gunnell and Rachel Brannen.

When Pennell-Aslinger was announced as the new JA president, she said that she wants to give back to the the community, and moved from banking to the JA position to make an even bigger difference in people's lives.

"About 15 years ago, I started volunteering with Junior Achievement and started teaching in the class, and about eight years ago, I joined the board," she explained. She served as board chairman two years ago.

"I am very passionate about Junior Achievement. We go into the school systems and prepare the students for work readiness, and help them with developing the workforce skills they are going to need," she said. "We teach them about financial responsibility, how to run an account, run your bank account, how to do your personal budgeting and handle personal finances. And, we teach them about starting their own businesses."

Pennell-Aslinger moved into the position after Melanie Connaster left for different employment. Several board members spoke of the nice job Connaster did as JA president, and wished her well, but said with her background with Junior Achievement as a volunteer and a board member, she has already fit in nicely to the new position.

As the new president, she will be working with the schools and children in JA’s five-county region of Bradley, McMinn, Meigs, Polk and Monroe counties.

"I thought this would be something that I could be proud of, and look back and leave lasting memories," Pennell-Aslinger said when she took her new job. "I said if I can look back at a child's life and know that we helped them become a leader in our community, or our nation, then I can be proud of it at the end of the day."

She said her goal this year is to increase the number of students the organization connects with up to 4,500, and to around 200 classrooms.

Pennell-Aslinger reminded the public that volunteers are always needed for JA. She said to get involved, contact the JA office, located on the Cleveland State Community College campus, or call  423-614-8777.


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