Junior Achievement of North Florida Hosts Hall of Fame Luncheon, a Celebration of 100 Years
05/08/2019

The event includes the presentation of the Thompson S. Baker Award

Online PR News – 08-May-2019 – Jacksonville, Fla. – Junior Achievement of North Florida will be hosting their annual Hall of Fame luncheon on May 14, 2019. The event is part of the organization's celebration of their 100 years of service and adds another name to the elite group of people who have received the Thompson S. Baker "Solid As A Rock" Award. This year Darnell Smith, Florida Blue's market president for the North Florida region, will receive the prestigious award.

"When the committee was looking at candidates for this year's award, Darnell's name was mentioned and there was total agreement in the room," said Steve St. Amand, president of Junior Achievement of North Florida. "Darnell is a big supporter of our programs and inspires Florida Blue employees to teach the JA programs in Duval County schools. His leadership and positive community impact across North Florida truly exemplify and bring to life the spirit of this recognition. He is the perfect recipient for this award."

Smith is the 21st recipient of the Thompson S. Baker award and joins a group of community leaders who have been honored for giving back to the citizens of Duval County. Those on the list include Preston Haskell, Tillie Fowler, Bill and Eloise Gay, David Stein, Harry Frisch, Wayne and Delores Barr Weaver, Laurie DuBow, Hugh Greene, Blake Wilson, Gary Chartrand and Shahid Khan. The award was named for the first winner, Thompson S. Baker, founder of Florida Rock Industries. Baker unselfishly contributed to the betterment of the community and JA of North Florida honors his life and work with the annual presentation.

"It is an honor to be included alongside some of the most engaged and generous members of our community," said Smith. "Junior Achievement of North Florida fills a very important role in the education of our children who will one day become the next community leaders. Contributing to the organization's important work is very meaningful to me and all the volunteers from Florida Blue."

Students who participate in JA programs will be serving as the emcees for the event. Dekari Long, a second-grader from R.L. Brown Gifted and Talented Elementary, is a first-year JA student. Ariana Cobb, an eighth-grade student from James Weldon Johnson, has been in a JA program since second grade and Christian Savin, a 10th-grade student from Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, is in his third year of participation with JA.

The Hall of Fame luncheon will be held from noon to 1:30 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency Jacksonville on Tuesday, May 14. It is a chance to honor those who make JA a success in North Florida and to look at all that Junior Achievement has been able to accomplish over the last 100 years. It is also a chance to highlight the many programs offered to help youth learn important life lessons that will help them succeed. For more information, sponsorship opportunities or to register for the event, visit www.JANFL.org or contact Tiffany Mackey Guthrie at (904) 398-9944, extension 230.

Junior Achievement was founded in 1919 in Springfield, Mass. by Strathmore Paper Founder Horace Moses, AT&T Chairman Theodore Vail and U.S. Senator from Massachusetts Murray Crane. The three founded the organization in response to families moving from farms to growing industrial cities. It was designed to provide young people with the skills needed to succeed in their new communities. The organization now operates in 109 areas in all 50 states and is dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills needed to own their economic success, plan for their futures, and make smart academic and economic choices.

About Junior Achievement of North Florida
Junior Achievement is the world's largest organization dedicated to educating students about workforce readiness, entrepreneurship and financial literacy through experiential, hands-on programs. Junior Achievement of North Florida has been operating in Jacksonville since 1963 and includes a satellite office in Tallahassee. Through an innovative partnership between the business community, educators and volunteers, Junior Achievement of North Florida helps young people connect with relevant learning and the importance of staying in school. This collaboration resulted in 59,439 students reached during the 2017-2018 school year. To learn more about Junior Achievement of North Florida, visit www.janfl.org.