2022 World Series Pitcher Ryan Pressly Throws His Support Behind JA Ignite the Spark!

Recently, Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas partnered with long-time sponsors Worley and Veritex Community Bank to present the JA Company Program's ceremonial kick-off for the new academic year, JA Ignite the Spark! and with over 180 attendees, we can say it was a stupendous success!

Held at the Glenda and David Regenbaum Center for Entrepreneurship at HCC Northwest campus, the JA Ignite the Spark! is a potent platform that helps unleash the entrepreneurial spirit of JA Company Students! The event kicked off with inspiring messages from Jason Savage (SVP&CTO, Veritex Community Bank) and Preeti Jain (JA Board member, Worley), who motivated our students to give it their all in the impending competition and in life.

This year's kick-off was made extra special by 2022 Houston World Series Champion pitcher Ryan Pressly and former Dallas Cowboys cheerleader Kat Pressly, who were featured in our POWER Interview. Hosted by Courtney Taylor (SVP - Community Development, Veritex Community Bank), The Presslys spoke about various interesting topics, from personal backgrounds, business interests, and their commitment to championing young people. The audience was incredibly engaged and could not stop asking questions!

Ryan was also an integral part of our Veritex Community Bank Strikeout for Financial Literacy Donation Program, which has raised $14,600 for Junior Achievement of Southeast Texas. Much gratitude to Ryan and Veritex Community Bank for their generosity and kindness.

This year, JA Ignite the Spark! also featured the inaugural Avanade Tech Innovation Challenge, which helped fuel the innovation mindset of our students. JA Board member Adam Drutz from Avanade and his passionate team presented this year's Tech Innovation Challenge with aplomb. The challenge involved two prompts where our students had to pick between ideating solutions on the use of social media to navigate continued education or the creation of a better world by reducing environmental impact with AI. After much deliberation, congratulations are in order to our top three teams from Klein Collins High School, Elkins High School, and Dulles High School for taking home their very first seed money courtesy of the Glenda and David Regenbaum Center for Entrepreneurship, along with sports memorabilia from Veritex Community Bank and laptops donated by Interconnection and the Avanade Tech Grant.

The execution of JA Ignite the Spark! was a grand success! - an event brought to life by the dedicated efforts of the JA Company Program Alumni Network. As the JA Company Program moves forward, the Alumni Network is excited to announce the launch of our inaugural mentoring program! They remain committed to leading and nurturing all our JA Company Program events, ensuring a bright and impactful future for Houston area students!