Meet Junior Achievement of New York’s 2012 Student of the Year

JA New York Talks with Josuel Plasencia, 2012 Student of the Year

josuelJosuel Plasencia was raised in a small attic room in New York City. The room was more than just four walls. It mirrored his family’s past and present–a cycle of struggle with little progress to show for it.

Josuel’s mother came to America from the Dominican Republic in search of a better life, but her dreams were delayed when she became a single mother. During summers, Josuel would visit his father in the Dominican Republic. To Josuel’s father, baseball was the ticket out of hardship. But this was not Josuel’s dream, and he knew there was little likelihood of success. Without an intervention, Josuel believed that he too was destined to experience a life of struggle.

The intervention came in ninth grade. Josuel participated in JA Job Shadow™, in which students experience the world of work during an on-site visit to a local business.

How did access to business role models and networking opportunities make a difference?

Being able to build quality relationships has made me a totally different person. Because of Junior Achievement, I am ready to leave the limitations of the room behind me.

Tell us about your success within Junior Achievement.

I was so proud to be honored as Junior Achievement of New York’s 2012 Student of the Year. It opened the door for me to college scholarships and internships with Fortune 500 companies . I am the first in my family to graduate from high school. I’m also a first generation college student.  I am currently attending Babson College, studying accounting and entrepreneurship.

What role has JA played in your life?

JA has been the key to success for me. It really opened the doors of opportunity and encouraged me to look beyond the present to the possibilities of the future. I hope my story inspires and gives hope to kids who don’t know how to navigate their way to success.