Monroeton Elementary and Junior Achievement

Brad Happel volunteered for Junior Achievement of the Triad to present the “JA Our Community” to elementary kids in Rockingham County. Why start these topics at such a young age? This is the age where real-world role models make lasting impressions. They are beginning to explore beyond their home and block. I believe that these children are the seeds of our tomorrow. Let’s help them get grounded in the soil and nourished by the right amount of sun and rain. These words summarize the topics presented during a few one-hour presentations.

Wow, I am proud of you guys.
Together we have learned about jobs and our community. Communities made up of citizens. Communities need the special skills of many people. People trade their time, skills, and money to their community to get things like schools, jobs, and places to shop. Communities also provide police and fire protection. These things make communities feel safe.


At the “Sweet Donut Shop,” I was Brad the Baker and you were my employees. We made super tasty paper donuts. We made a lot of donuts. We made a lot of defective donuts. We made mistakes because I demanded more donuts. Demand made us innovate. Defects made us innovate again. Innovation is growth. Innovation is fun. Innovation is creation.


Brad the Baker gave each of you five paper dollars for your hard work. But then Brad the tax collector took two dollars of your share in taxes. We learned that the government is people doing the things that serve our community. Taxes are the way we pay for those people and those services.


We talked about how communities make decisions by voting. Each citizen decides to shout out or shut up. Shouting is learning both sides of every issue and marking your ballot. If you decide not to vote, you can sit in your corner and shut up if you don’t like the decision. But when you take the effort to think about all the good and bad things, you become a citizen action hero. You vote and let go. It might be your choice. It might not be your choice. But it is the choice of your community. Whether you win or lose, you shake the hand of the other team. Right? Mark your choice on the ballot but then support the decision because it represents the majority of the community.


We learned about money! We learned about “pennies, nickels, dimes, and quarters.” We learned how money moves from business to business in our community. Think about all the hands that it touched, all the businesses it helped, and all the communities that it visited. If money could talk, what an amazing story it could tell!


I own a business called Happel Financial here in Reidsville. My job is to help families make good decisions about their money. I am a financial gardener because I believe that making money grow is just as easy as making a plant grow. I know a lot about money. You might say that I am an expert! Let me tell you two secrets about money. No, not secrets! Tell everyone! Tell your parents what you learned about making money from a professional money manager in town.

Grow money by watching your nickels and dimes.

Pay yourself first – earn a dollar, save a dime.


What did we learn? We learned about your community. Jobs. Innovation. Government and taxes. Group decisions and voting. And how money moves in our community. You now have a diploma to remember our time together. I have some pictures and a story to tell my friends. "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard."Winnie the Pooh

It was an awesome experience working through Junior Achievement of the Triad. Presenting to Jan Wheless’ second-grade class at Monroeton Elementary was both fun and rewarding. Not only was I able to teach children about being a business owner and money manager, but I was reminded of something Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

If you are interested in volunteering your time and ability, please contact Brandy Plouff at or 336-544-0742