The East Vision

Students spread financial literacy through the Junior Economics Club

Grace Lee '19 and Sophie Sears '19 are passionate about business in Grand Rapids

Anna VanderLaan, Staff Writer

For many high schoolers, the future is overwhelming. Students spend a considerable amount of time thinking about their years following graduation and the important decisions they will make regarding their professions. The world of business can be a confusing place for many, and it is easy to feel stressed about the mystery of it all. Luckily, there is a club is dedicated to shining light on this complicated subject for high schoolers, and through this club, information on business and economics is more readily available than ever before.

Junior Economics Club is a non-profit organization founded in December of 2016 and run entirely by high school students. Grace Lee ‘19 and Sophie Sears ‘19 are both board members of the club, and the girls have taken a special interest in bringing the subject of Grand Rapids business and economics to our school.

“Any high school student in the Grand Rapids area is welcome to join Junior Economics Club,” Sears said. “Everyone is included and we really want to make sure kids enjoy the program while maximizing their learning experience.”

The Junior Economics Club of Grand Rapids is one of three branches, with one located in Chicago, Illinois, and the other in Toronto, Canada. The Grand Rapids branch, which has about 50 members and 4 board members, hosts forums and business tours that feature some of Grand Rapids’ leading economic figures. The club also looks to further expansion internationally, hoping to establish a presence around the globe.

“The forums are great,” Lee said. “It is a really unique club because it provides so many opportunities outside of school and gets kids interested in business within our community.”

The first forum was last spring at the JW Marriott, and keynote speakers included Amway Regional President of the Americas, Candace Matthews, and CEO of Downtown Grand Rapids inc., Kristopher Larson.

“Our first event was catered by Six.One.Six,” Lee said. “It was all free for all students and everyone had a blast. Our speakers were very impactful and inspired students to pursue a career in business.”

Recently, the Junior Economics Club was featured at the Economics Club of Grand Rapids on Nov. 20. Lee, along with fellow board member and Forest Hills High School student Katie McClure, spoke in front of 800 top business leaders in West Michigan.

“It was amazing to speak in front of the Economics Club of Grand Rapids,” Lee said. “The subject of business is very interesting to me and I am glad to be a part of the economic community.”

The Junior Economics Club looks ahead to their next forum in February. The girls encourage any high schooler interested in business and economics to attend.

“Our next forum is in February and it’s free as well as a business tour this winter,” Lee said. “These events are great opportunities to learn about Grand Rapids and its growing economy.”

“We would love if you could attend our forum as well as business tour,” Sears agreed. “A big goal we have is to extend the club into the greater Grand Rapids area. Tell your friends about it!”

Be sure to check out the Junior Economics Club on Facebook, where you can fill out a form to become a member  The club is a great way to get involved with the Grand Rapids economy, especially for those thinking about pursuing a career in business. We have Junior Economic Club to thank for broaching the subject of business to students in Grand Rapids and inspiring kids to take action and learn about the economy of the city we live in.

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