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JA honors Wesson with Lifetime Achievement Award

Date: 7/13/2009

SPRINGFIELD - Junior Achievement (JA) of Western Massachusetts recently celebrated its 90th anniversary at the Greek Cultural Center in Springfield. The event was sponsored by Citizens Bank together with Baystate Health, the New England Rotary District 7890 and Bacon Wilson P.C. Over 200 guests attended the affair and Mayor Domenic Sarno presented a proclamation during the VIP Reception, recognizing the contributions that JA has made to the community over the past 90 years.

State Rep. Rosemary Sandlin from Agawam, Springfield School Committee member Antonette Pepe and New England Rotary District 7890 Governor for James Dusza also attended the event.

Donald H. Wesson, a resident of Longmeadow, works for Veritech in East Longmeadow and has served on the JA of Western Massachusetts Board of Directors for 28 years. Wesson has been involved in many aspects of JA, including Chairman of the Board of Directors, Interim President, classroom volunteer, supporter and fundraiser. He works tirelessly for JA to build a better future for our youth and a well-trained educated future workforce for our local businesses.

Recently, Wesson finished teaching JA Our Community to second grade students at Center School in Longmeadow. Each fall Wesson participates in the JA in a Day event at Springfield Central High School, teaching JA Economics for Success to ninth graders.

During the event JA also recognized outstanding business partners, presenting the Horace Moses Business Partner Award to: Citizens Bank, Country Bank, the Irene E. and George A. Davis Foundation, MassMutual Financial Group, Savage Arms, St. Germain Investment Management and TD Banknorth. Julie Pelletier from the RSVP Program received the Adult Volunteer of the Year Award. Springfield Central High School, which has played a key role in JA's growing success over the past three years, was recognized: Cedric Cunningham received Outstanding Teacher of the Year, Paul Nycz, Assistant Vice Principal at Central, was recognized as the Outstanding Administrator of the Year; and Nathan Jones, a sophomore at Central, received the Student Volunteer of the Year Award for his dedication to the JA High School Heroes program.

For 90 years JA of Western Massachusetts has recruited and trained community volunteers and business leaders to present JA programs that focus on business, citizenship, economics, entrepreneurship, ethics/character, financial literacy and career exploration. This year more than 12,000 students in 30 school districts across Western Massachusetts will participate in JA programs, taught by over 400 local volunteers. JA programs are funded through the generosity of local businesses, individuals, foundations and special events. If you would like to learn more about JA or to get involved, visit or call 747-7670.