Sarah Ford | November 24, 2014

Corona Queens Teen Has $10,000 Reason to Give Thanks at the Junior Achievement of New York Annual Award Dinner

[NEW YORK, NY] – A Corona, Queens student has $10,000 reasons to give thanks this coming Holiday Season. On Tuesday, November 18, Joseph Hernandez, a 12th grade student at the Academy of Finance and Enterprise high school, received a $10,000 Student of the Year Scholarship Award to support his college dreams at  the 2014 Junior Achievement of New York Annual Awards Dinner hosted at Gotham Hall. Four hundred NYC and Long Island business leaders and professionals gathered to celebrate Joseph and to raise funds to support the delivery of free financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and college and career readiness programs to nearly 70,000 K-12 students. WABC-7 Eyewitness News anchor, Sandra Bookman, served as Mistress of Ceremonies for the event, which raised more than $615,000.

Joseph is the second student to receive JA New York’s top student scholarship award. Thanks to the generosity of the Manuel H. and Claire Barron Scholarship Fund, each year, an under-resourced, high performing JA student the scholarship receives the scholarship  to support his/her college dreams.  The Student of the Year Scholarship honoree distinguishes his/herself as an active and self-directed learner in Junior Achievement programs. Applicants go through a rigorous and competitive selection process to win the award. Successful candidates must exemplify the following qualifications and characteristics:

  • Be an exceptional model of a Junior Achievement scholar
  • Is enrolled in 12th grade during 2014-15 school year
  • Has participated in at least one JA New York event in high school
  • Shows interest in developing entrepreneurship, work readiness and financial literacy skills
  • Exhibits strong leadership skills and commitment to serving the community
  • Possess good communication skills
  • Has a 3.0 GPA or greater

Joseph aspires to one day become a public servant, and he has a deep interest in business and social entrepreneurship. He credits JA for helping him to become a model student and for teaching him the importance of giving back to his community.

Joseph Peri, President of JA New York, spoke about what made Joseph stand out from his peers as a candidate for the Student of the Year scholarship award. “There were a few things that made Joseph stand out in the selection process. One was the breadth of experiences he has. Joseph has been involved in Junior Achievement programs from the beginning of his high school career. Beyond that, it was how he was able to connect those experiences to, his own life circumstances now, and his vision and dreams for what he wants to do in the future.”

The Annual Awards Dinner is JA New York’s signature fall fundraising event. For the 400 NYC and Long Island business leaders and professionals in attendance, it was not difficult to see why JA New York selected Joseph to be the 2014 Student of the Year honoree. Joseph’s passionate keynote address about his growing appreciation of business entrepreneurship was given a rousing standing ovation. His speech focused on Junior Achievement’s role in helping him to recognize and value the benefits of entrepreneurship. After watching his father struggle for years to run their family owned bodega in Corona, Queens, Joseph confessed that at times he found entrepreneurship to be “exhausting and discouraging,”  In his own words, ”I stopped noticing all the good things about entrepreneurship. All I could see was the downside.”  Joseph credited his JA experience for “waking him up to the realities of life” by helping him to recognize the benefits of entrepreneurship for his family. “JA pushed me to think critically about entrepreneurship. It helped me to understand why my father does what he does, in spite of the setbacks and challenges of owning a business. And it helped me to appreciate the advantages that the business of entrepreneurship has provided for my family.”

Joseph’s keynote address was only one part of an inspirational and fun evening of activities. Highlights of the evening included a silent auction and a high-spirited live auction led by Jennifer Wright, specialist and Head of Sales, old master and 19th Century Drawings at Christies. In addition, a pledge drive highlighting three of JA New York’s signature youth economic education and community service programs raised $23,000. All proceeds will be used to recruit, train and deploy business and community volunteer mentor resources to deliver free JA financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and college and career readiness programs to high need schools and community organizations in the New York City and Long Island Area.

More about Joseph Hernandez, JA New York’s 2014 Student of the Year Scholar!

Click here to read Joseph’s keynote address

View photo highlights from the 2014 JA New York Annual Dinner

Click here to see a short video introduction to Joseph’s Story.


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Junior Achievement of New York is the local affiliate of Junior Achievement USA, the world’s largest organization dedicated to giving young people the knowledge and skills they need to own their economic success, plan for their future, and make smart academic and economic choices. We recruit, train, and mobilize more than 5000 corporate and community volunteers to provide relevant, hands-on experiences that give students knowledge and skills in financial literacy, work readiness and entrepreneurship. Today, JA New York delivers nearly 69,000 student experiences per year, free of cost, in more than 200 NYC and Long Island public schools. Visit for more information.

Jacqueline Dolly

Senior Director, Marketing and Communications

Junior Achievement of New York

420 Lexington Avenue, Suite 205

New York, NY 10170

Contact: 212-907-0046


Twitter: @JANewYork


Junior Achievement:Empowering young people to own their economic success

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