Author: Erika O'Shea
Published: Friday, 21 Feb 2020
De’Na and De’Onta Newborn were first involved with Junior Achievement at Lee A. Tolbert Community Academy as elementary students. Over the course of their education, JA volunteer mentors have exposed them to career paths and have helped them define their goals. De’Na’s favorite activity introduced her class to a variety of potential jobs. “Mike from Hallmark brought us all Hallmark notebooks and gel pens. We learned about roles at his company and then played a matching game to pair career titles to the job descriptions we thought they belonged to.” De’Onta especially enjoyed an entrepreneurship activity, “We got a packet that explored how different interests can be turned into businesses. Then we got to market that business and even design a logo!”
The twin siblings are now in their Senior year of High School at Lincoln College Preparatory Academy. Their busy schedule includes volleyball, theater, debate, student council, and choir. Their grandmother, Letta, attests to their drive and passion. “Everything they do they absorb. They are strong in knowing what they want to achieve.” Junior Achievement was also honored to invite De’Na and De’Onta to be presenters at the 2019 JA Business Hall of Fame Celebration last month.
With college on the horizon, De’Na and De’Onta often field questions about where they would like to attend next fall. Several institutions are being considered, but their JA lessons made an impact here as well, helping them understand the risk of student debt. “We will go to the school that gives us the most money. It’s all about the scholarships!” De’Onta smiled.
Though they share a birthday and many similar interests, each has separate dreams for the future. These goals have remained constant since their Elementary School JA programs. Deeply impacted by educators and mentors growing up, De’Onta hopes to become an Elementary English Teacher. “Teachers have made such a difference in my life. I want to make sure the literature we learn in schools doesn’t just reflect one side of history. It should reflect all parts and all cultures of our society. De’Na aspires to become a lawyer or substance abuse counselor. JA has fostered confidence about their skills and abilities. When asked what will make her successful in the future, De’Na promptly responded, “My work ethic. When I want something, I don’t take no for an answer. I won’t stop until I get it done.”
De’Na and De’Onta credit Junior Achievement mentors for helping show them that their dreams were within reach. “Our JA leaders taught us you’re never too young to have dreams or set goals for yourself. They showed us that if you aim high, you will get there.”
As they move to the next stage of their lives, the pair have wisdom to pass on for future JA students seeking to make an impact in the world around them. De’Na emphasized the importance of preparedness and grit. “Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. If you want to do something, don’t go in blind. It won’t be all rainbows and sunshine. Realize there will be challenges. Don’t be afraid of anything. Take it head on.” De’Onta stressed the importance of self-awareness, “As a human, you’re going to make mistakes. But you don’t have to keep making the same ones. Think about your future.”
We can’t wait to continue to watch De’Na and De’Onta grow into their potential and we wish them the best of luck in their studies in their final year of high school! Students who participate in volunteer-led Junior Achievement programs gain the confidence and get the tools to think far beyond what’s right in front of them. When you partner with JA, you redefine preparedness for the next generation.